Prior Landlord Must Pay Money Due Under Settlement Agreement
LVT Number: 12670
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenant. Landlord and tenant settled the case. Tenant agreed to move out in exchange for a $10,000 payment from landlord. In the settlement agreement, landlord agreed to pay tenant additional money to match amounts paid to any other tenants who moved out, if landlord paid any of them more than $10,000. Landlord then sold the building. New landlord sued to evict other tenants and paid one of them $105,000 to move out. Another tenant was paid $163,750, although that buyout was structured so that $138,750 was defined as damages and $25,000 was defined as payment for surrender of the apartment. Tenant then sued prior landlord for the difference between the largest payment received by other tenant from new landlord and the $10,000 he received. Prior landlord in turn sued new landlord to enforce the building sale contract provision that new landlord would be responsible for litigation with tenants. Prior landlord also claimed his settlement agreement with tenant was unenforceable. The court ruled against prior landlord on his claim against tenant and found that a trial was needed as to the terms of his contract with new landlord concerning liability. Prior landlord appealed. Court: Prior landlord loses. The settlement agreement gave tenant the right to payment of the difference in the buyouts. A trial was needed to determine the amount of the difference. The largest buyout, which included the ''damages'' provision, may have been merely a tax gimmick.
Dunham v. Weissman: 675 NYS2d 602 (1998) (App. Div. 1 Dept.; Milonas, JP, Nardelli, Wallach, Andrias, JJ)