Tenant Breached Lease by Refusing Landlord Access to Asbestos-Filled Containers
LVT Number: #32187
Landlord sued to evict tenant of a single-family rental for material breach of tenant's lease. Tenant uncovered large trailers and shipping containers filled with bags labeled "asbestos" while doing yard work at the premises. He also changed the locks on the containers, notified landlord of their contents, and demanded landlord safely remove the materials. Tenant said they posed a health hazard to his family. Landlord claimed that tenant continuously failed to provide the keys to the locked containers, ignoring a notice to cease and notice of default. Tenant claimed that he was following the instructions of the local health and safety inspector. He also said he refused to give landlord the keys because he didn't trust her to safely move the materials. The trial court ruled for landlord. At trial, the safety inspector testified that he hadn't advised tenant regardng the keys, and there was no proof shown that the materials were stored unsafely. Tenant's lease expressly prohibited him from changing locks without consent or withholding keys.
Honeycutt v. Sirico: Index No. LT-641-20/15, NYLJ No. 1657019386 (Dist. Ct. Suffolk Co.; 5/25/22; Heifer, J)