Tenant Claims Retaliatory Eviction
LVT Number: 11700
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenant when her lease expired. Tenant claimed retaliatory eviction. Landlord held the shares to tenant's apartment as well as other apartments in a cooperative building. During the year before her lease expired, tenant had complained to landlord and the building's managing agent about unsafe conditions. Tenant advised landlord that she had to replace the bottom lock to her apartment door during off hours because no emergency assistance was available from the managing agent. Landlord refused to pay for the lock replacement and unsuccessfully sued tenant for nonpayment when she deducted the cost of the lock from her rent. Tenant had also filed a discrimination complaint against landlord with the New York State Division of Human Rights. Court: Tenant wins. Under RPL section 223-b, proof of retaliatory eviction bars landlord from evicting tenant upon a lease expiration. Within six months of tenant's discrimination complaint, landlord refused to renew tenant's lease. Landlord also retaliated against tenant when she claimed a rent set-off for her broken lock by suing her for nonpayment. Landlord's explanations for not renewing tenant's lease were unconvincing. Landlord cited tenant's nonpayment history, but tenant's only nonpayment occurred when she withheld the cost of the lock replacement. Landlord also claimed that it was selling the apartment, but couldn't state how many of its apartments were available at that same time. After tenant demanded information about safety procedures, including a working emergency number, landlord brought three summary proceed-ings. All of these were dismissed. The court gave tenant a $270 rent abatement for the cost of the lock, and awarded her court costs. Landlord was barred from suing to evict tenant for at least six months.
The Adar Co., LLC v. Snyder: NYLJ, p. 34, col. 6 (7/9/97) (Dist. Ct. Nassau; Stack, J)