NYCHA Not Required to Restore Tenant's Son to Possession After Locking Him Out
LVT Number: #31614
Apartment occupant, who was the son of the deceased tenant, sued landlord NYCHA, claiming that NYCHA had illegally locked him out of his apartment and seeking to be restored to possession. He testified credibly that he began living in the unit during the summer of 2019 and continued to do so until landlord locked him out on May 11, 2021. He said he moved into the apartment with tenant, who was his mother, and initially did so to assist her temporarily while she recovered from hip replacement surgery. He remained in the unit after tenant died in March 2020.
A NYCHA staff member testified that NYCHA wasn't on notice that tenant's son was occupying the unit until May 2021. NYCHA had received complaints from other residents that people were hanging out and smoking at the unit at all times of day and night, that the police had been called to the unit several times, and that the son had told them that he moved in after his mother died. The son wasn't an authorized occupant since tenant never listed him on the household composition forms or on the lease. Landlord's witness couldn't verify if the son lived in the apartment for a year before tenant died.
The court ruled against the son, who admitted that he actively concealed his presence at the apartment from NYCHA and that he was trying to keep a "low profile" so as not to "make waves." Although the son claimed to have made rent payments after tenant died, if so, these were deposited in a lock box. The facts showed that the son was merely tenant's licensee and didn't have the right to be restored to possession of the apartment.
Jones v. NYCHA: Index No. L&T10075/21, 2021 NY Slip Op 50806(U)(Civ. Ct. Kings; 8/24/21; Capell, J)