Tenants Must Vacate Unsafe Building Due to COVID-19 Concerns

LVT Number: #30735

Landlord, through its architect, notified DOB after inspection in January 2020 that its building had certain structural conditions that posed a danger to the building and to the safety of two tenants. DOB confirmed landlord's findings by its own inspector shortly thereafter. DOB issued an IED on Feb. 3 requiring immediate shoring in selected building locations in order to remedy an imminently hazardous condition without displacing the building tenants. Landlord then sued DOB, seeking tenant vacatur.

The court ruled for landlord. In light of COVID-19, the physical safety of tenants couldn't be ensured at this time while the shoring work was being performed at the building. Landlord must bear the costs and arrange for moving the tenants away from the building and to temporary housing. Tenants wouldn't be required to pay rent during this period of relocation. If tenants didn't move out voluntarily, the NYPD and/or NYC Sheriff should assist landlord with enforcement of the court's vacate order. If landlord couldn't complete the work by April 27, 2020, due to any COVID-19 issues, it must contact DOB to confer. Upon DOB notification that the building is safe for re-occupancy, landlord must move tenants back within five days. If the building doesn't become safe despite landlord's compliance, DOB must take over providing emergency relocation services to tenants.