Tenant Can Vacate Settlement Agreement
LVT Number: 19022
Landlord sued to evict tenant for chronic nonpayment of rent. Landlord had started six nonpayment cases in nine years. Landlord and tenant signed a settlement agreement in court. Tenant agreed to pay her rent on time during a two-year probation period. Tenant paid $1,500 in back rent and agreed to pay another $800 by March 31, 2005. Tenant didn't do so and got an eviction notice. Tenant then asked the court to vacate the settlement agreement. The court ruled for tenant. Tenant wasn't represented by an attorney when she signed the settlement agreement and didn't know she might have defenses to landlord's claim. Tenant was getting public assistance when landlord started at least two of the six prior nonpayment cases, and had no control over when payments were made to landlord. So it was possible that landlord didn't have a valid claim of chronic nonpayment. The court vacated the settlement agreement and sent the case back for trial.
Red Maple Corp. v. Bowles: NYLJ, 7/12/06, p. 28, col. 1 (Civ. Ct. Bronx; Rashford, J)