Tenant Can't Rely on Nonbinding Lease Agreement to Get Attorney's Fees

LVT Number: #30268

Landlord sued to evict tenant for nonpayment of rent. The court granted tenant's request to dismiss the case but denied tenant's request for attorney's fees. Tenant appealed and lost. Real Property Law Section 234 permits a prevailing residential tenant to recover attorney's fees if the tenant's lease allows landlord to recover attorney's fees in lawsuits based on tenant's alleged breach of the lease. Tenant had signed a lease with prior landlord in 2012 as a matter of convenience to landlord, not with any expectation that it would be a binding agreement.

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31-36 32nd Street Astoria, LLC v. Nickell: 64 Misc.3d 137(A), 2019 NY Slip Op 51164(U) (App. T. 2 Dept.; 7/12/19; Elliot, JP, Pesce, Siegal, JJ)