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Major Cases

Appellate Cases

  • December 2021

    Trafalgar v. Malone, (Appellate Term, First Department) (No Certificate of Occupancy means “Use and Occupancy” deposited with the Court and or paid to landlord, without prejudice, must be returned to the tenant)

    HMGJ Partner Jesse Gribben recently won big for tenants at the Appellate Term, First Department. The tenant in the underlying housing court non-payment case, Trafalgar v. Malone, argued that the landlord could not collect rent because the building did not have a valid certificate of occupancy. Pending a final determination of the housing court case, the tenant deposited “use and occupancy,” (what rent is called after a lease ends) with the court and paid several months of use and occupancy directly to the landlord. The money paid and deposited was “without prejudice,” to the tenant’s defenses. The court held all of these monies must be returned to the tenant and the decision was upheld on appeal.
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  • August 2021

    Casey v. Whitehouse Estates (Appellate Division, First Department)

    Affirms Supreme Court holding that the rents for 78 apartments unlawfully deregulated while landlord was in receipt of J-51 tax benefits have to be calculated based on the default formula and frozen as of 2007. Under the default formula, the rents are recalculated because of landlord fraud and/or because there are no reliable rental history records. The recalculation is usually based on the lowest stabilized rent for a comparable apartment in the building. In most cases, the rents are to be lowered from well over $2,000 per month to well under $1,500 per month. The tenants who have occupied those apartments over the past 14 years are entitled to a refund of the amounts overpaid, with interest, which will result in tens of millions of dollars of compensation.
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  • June 2021

    FAC Preservation HDFC v. Delio Moreno (Appellate Term, Second Department)

    HDFC cannot eliminate preferential rent as long as tenant is in occupancy based on clear language of the initial lease rider which provided, after rehabilitation of the building, that if tenant could not obtain Section 8, all rent increases would be based on the lower preferential rent, not the legal rent.
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  • October 2020

    Bergen Realty & Mgmt. LLC v. DHCR and Christie-Irvine

    Upholds DHCR finding of fraudulent scheme to deregulate based on lack of proof of claimed renovations, setting of rent based upon default formula and awarding of overcharge and treble damages.
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  • April 2020

    Daniel Collazo v. Netherland Property Asset, 35 N.Y.3d 987 (upholding tenants’ choice to sue for rent overcharges in NY State Supreme Court rather than filing a complaint with the DHCR)

    Chini v. Chini, 189 A.D.3d 986 (2d Dept. 2020) (finding issues of fact requiring a trial as to claim by son of deceased owner, who had exclusive possession of an apartment and paid rent, that he was a rent stabilized tenant)

    Garendean Realty Owner v. Lang, 175 A.D.3d 653 (2d Dept. 2019) (upholding dismissal of fraud claim against tenant where no sufficient allegations were made)
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  • June 2019

    Kuzmich V. 50 Murray Street Acquisition LLC

    (421-g apartments not subject to deregulation) (Court of Appeals June 2019)
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  • December 2018

    Nolte vs. Bridgestone Associates

    court upholds trial court decision that the landlord fraudulently deregulated the apartment, freezes rent, grants trebles damages, uses default formula to calculate rent and awards legal fees
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  • October 2018

    601 West 136th Street HDFC v. Yvette Tsiropoulos

    HDFC unreasonably rejected remaining family member application of daughter of deceased tenant on the basis of not being financially responsible. Daughter was able to pay the maintenance and lack of tax returns and period of withholding maintenance, under the circumstances, did not make her financially irresponsible.
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Lower Court Cases

  • May 2023

    Robert Feltman v. 106th Realty LLC et. al. (Sup Ct, NY Co) (Improperly deregulated apartment found to be rent-stabilized. Landlord did not create a “new” apartment permitting it to charge a “first rent” and deregulate the existing apartment where the changes to the existing apartment perimeter were not substantial.)

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  • August 2022

    Soufer v. Sprague (Civ Ct, NY Co)(Tenant’s time to appeal did not start to run where notice of entry was served without a copy of the decision stamped “entered”)

    GVS Properties LLC v. Vargas (Civ Ct, NY Co)(Landlord ordered to return to tenants $120,989.94 in use and occupancy that had been paid “without prejudice” pending determination of case which tenants won based on lack of a valid certificate of occupancy. Attorney’s fees claim denied without prejudice due to failure of prior attorney to raise as counterclaim.)
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  • March 2021

    Trafalgar Company v. Georgia Malone

    Dugan v. London Terrace Gardens LP (HSTPA of 2019 applies to pending overcharge class action – all rent history “reasonably necessary” to determine the legal rent should be examined and tenant can collect for six years of overcharges)
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  • June 2019

    Kuzmich v. 50 Murray/West v. 90 West Street

    421-g apartments not subject to deregulation
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  • April 04, 2018

    Golden Horse v. DHCR

    Sup Ct, NY Co (illegal use of apt does not preclude it being rent stabilized, landlord Article 78 dismissed)
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  • March 2018

    Matter of GVS Props. LLC v Vargas

    HMGD&J wins summary judgment relieving a tenant of any obligation to pay rent, over a five year period, based on her building’s decades old Certificate of Occupancy violation. This case solidifies precedent, also won by HMGD&J and firmly establishes that landlords cannot collect rent from a tenant if its building has a C of O violation, no matter how old the violation or how much the tenant owes.
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  • February 26, 2018

    Sau Mei Chan v. Doe

    Petitioner commenced these holdover proceedings to recover the subject apartments located at 71-38 71st Street, Glendale. Prior to commencement petitioner served Thirty Day Notices terminating respondents’ tenancies effective September 30,2017.
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  • December 14, 2017

    Arrojo and Finstad v. Serdula (Civil Court, NY County)

    Owner’s use proceeding dismissed where owner failed to offer tenant 62-years old or older an equivalent or superior rent-stabilized apartment. Agreement to charge stabilized rents not sufficient.
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  • November 29, 2017

    Cooper and Holland vs. 85th Estates and Greenthal

    (SC, NY Co) (court finds overcharges and sets rent based on “default” formula where landlord failed to offer sufficient evidence of renovations and treated apartments as deregulated while in receipt of J51 benefits)
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  • October 4, 2017

    Nolte v. Bridgestone (Sup Ct, NY Co 2017)

    tenant granted summary judgment, apartment stabilized on basis of J51, court finds fraud and sets rent based on default formula with rent freeze, treble damages and attorneys fees
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