Tenant's Mental Disability No Excuse for Extended Apartment Absences
LVT Number: 18254
Facts: Landlord sued to evict rent-stabilized SRO tenant for nonprimary residence. At trial, tenant claimed that the apartment was his primary residence and that he had no alternate address. Tenant also argued that his mental disabilities excused his extended absences from the apartment. Landlord showed that tenant lived primarily on the street, not in the apartment. He even applied for public housing, stating that he was homeless. During a four-year period, landlord rarely saw tenant enter or leave the apartment. Court: Landlord wins. Landlord didn't have to prove that tenant had an alternate address. It was enough that landlord proved that tenant abandoned the apartment to live on the street, in the park, on stoops, and at friends' homes. The purpose of rent stabilization wasn't served by letting tenant use the apartment merely to store his belongings and receive mail. Tenant's substance abuse and mental disabilities didn't excuse his absence from the apartment. Psychiatrists testified that tenant wouldn't take medication or accept treatment. Tenant didn't show that he would return there.
TOA Construction Co. Inc. v. Tsitsires: NYLJ, 7/18/05, p. 20, col. 1 (Civ. Ct. NY; Lebovits, J)