Tenant Refused to Move to Smaller Unit
LVT Number: 11998
Facts: Tenant lived in a two-bedroom Mitchell-Lama cooperative apartment with her cousin. Tenant held the shares to the apartment. In 1995 tenant moved out and asked landlord to give pass-on rights to her cousin. Landlord agreed to do so on the condition that the cousin move to a smaller, one-bedroom apartment as soon as one became available. This was to comply with HPD rules which barred an apartment from being under-utilized. Cousin signed agreement to be put on a waiting list for a smaller apartment. Landlord then gave cousin an ''occupancy agreement'' for tenant's apartment. Cousin later refused to move into a one-bedroom apartment, claiming that the occupancy agreement made her prior agreement to move unenforceable. Landlord asked HPD to issue a certificate of eviction. HPD ruled for landlord, and tenant's cousin appealed. Court: Cousin loses. The prior agreement to move into a smaller apartment was enforceable and was the reason landlord gave the cousin an occupancy agreement for tenant's apartment in the first place. HPD rules and regulations also require that single tenants live in one-bedroom apartments to make two-bedroom apartments available to larger families.
Cowens v. HPD: NYLJ, p. 30, col. 1 (12/3/97) (Sup. Ct. NY; Fried, J)