Tenant Owns Investment Property on Long Island
LVT Number: 18132
Facts: Landlord sued to evict rent-controlled tenant for nonprimary residence. Landlord claimed that tenant lived primarily in a house on Long Island. Tenant claimed that she stayed at the Long Island house only a few times per month, in connection with her duties as co-owner and manager of several investment properties in that area. The court ruled for tenant, based on tenant's testimony and other evidence. Tenant's friend, who also lived in the Long Island house, paid all the bills and taxes there. There was no testimony by building staff or neighbors that tenant hadn't been seen at the building. Tenant's failure to pay New York City income taxes didn't prove her residence. And her failure to vote in New York City didn't prove anything absent proof that she voted elsewhere. Landlord also didn't present any proof of tenant's telephone or utility usage. Landlord appealed. Court: Landlord loses. The trial court based its decision on documents presented, as well as evaluation of tenant's credibility. Notably, one judge disagreed. He pointed out that the trial court ignored substantial documentary evidence linking tenant to the Long Island house, as well as testimony by a Long Island neighbor who saw tenant frequently.
Tabak v. Steele: NYLJ, 5/16/05, p. 27, col. 5 (App. T. 1 Dept.; Suarez, PJ, McCooe, Schoenfeld, JJ)