Neither Side Gets Attorney's Fees in Nonpayment Dispute
LVT Number: #24610
Landlord cooperative corporation sued to evict tenant shareholder for nonpayment of maintenance. Tenant claimed constructive eviction and asked for a maintenance abatement and attorney's fees. In 2004, a serious flood had occurred after a pipe burst in the upstairs apartment. Tenant's duplex apartment was rendered uninhabitable for four months. The court ruled for landlord in part, awarding landlord some maintenance arrears, giving tenant some abatement, but denying attorney's fees to either side. Both sides appealed. The appeals court reduced the amount of maintenance owed to landlord to $34,300. Tenant was entitled to a complete maintenance abatement for the period from January through April 2004. But from May 2004 through August 2005, the trial court correctly found that tenant effectively denied landlord access to make repairs. Tenant opted to hire her own contractors to do the work. Starting in September 2005, tenant failed to comply with the terms of a September 2004 settlement agreement in another court proceeding between the parties, which contributed to the delay in resolving the dispute. Given the mixed outcome of the eviction case, neither side "prevailed," and therefore, neither was entitled to attorney's fees.
12-14 East 64th Owners Corp. v. Hixon: 38 Misc.3d 135(A), 2013 NY Slip Op 50130(U) (App. T. 1 Dept.; 1/30/13; Schoenfeld, JP, Torres, Hunter Jr., JJ)