Raphael Toledano finds himself on the other side of a landlord-tenant dispute this month. He has been accused many times of evicting his tenants from units that are rent-stabilized, and now he is facing eviction from a building he claims is rent-stabilized.
From January 2013 to June 2015, over 450,000 eviction cases were filed in New York City. Many of these evictions are linked to the ease with which landlords can get around rent stabilization laws, thanks to a 1994 law.
Every human being has the same basic needs. Food, clothing and shelter are among the most fundamental.
It's a tradition for many to visit New York City during the holiday season to shop, see the parade or catch a show. While a decade ago that would have meant staying at a Midtown Hotel or somewhere in Greenwich Village, Airbnb, the home-sharing company, has transformed the NYC visit for many in recent years by putting out-of-town guests in the homes of strangers renting to them.
On the one hand, he made sure to deposit the rental payments dutifully made by long-time tenants of one of his many residential properties in New York City. In fact, he continued cashing those checks even months after the renters -- a family of seven -- had vacated the premises.
If you occupy a rent-stabilized apartment, you understand the value of your property. Rents are high in New York, and your current rent may be the only affordable way for you to remain in your home and stay afloat financially.
Our firm recently won a huge victory in a long, bitter and hard fought case entitled Samra v. Messeca. The case was an example of our work in eviction prevention. This was what is known as an "owner use" proceeding-an eviction case brought against a rent stabilized tenant because the landlord claims that they want to have an immediate family member-in this case one of the landlord's daughters- occupy the unit. In order to prevail in such a case, the landlord only needs to establish that he or she has a good faith, honest intention to have the family member live in the unit. Landlords frequently use owner occupancy as a ruse to evict rent stabilized tenants. This case was a textbook example of bad faith. There had been a long history of animosity between the tenant and the landlords. After recovering another apartment under the guise of owner occupancy, the family member for whom the apartment was sought did not move in; instead the landlord destabilized it and quadrupled the rent. Moreover, there were other apartments available which the landlord could have moved his daughter into, and blatant harassment of the tenant. In order to maintain an owner use case, the building must be owned by individuals; in this case, although the deed was transferred to an individual, the building was still managed and operated through a corporation. Tellingly, the landlord had attempted to coerce the tenant into accepting de facto and illegal deregulation of her apartment years before this case began, by suggesting that if she failed to agree, the landlord would evict her in an owner occupancy case. The court, in a 19 page decision, dismissed the case, citing these many factors and held that the landlord did not have a good faith desire to have his daughter occupy the apartment; in effect the court found that the landlord was lying and that the case was a sham. The tenant in this case was represented by Janet Ray Kalson and Sam Himmelstein.
Repeated failures to pay rent which result in non-payment proceedings could result in eviction on the basis of "chronic non-payment." While there is no specific number of non-payments that could result in eviction, Tenants have been evicted where there have been nine non-payments in three years. Not all non-payments count, however. In a recent Bronx County Housing Court case, Mins Court Housing v. Wright, the landlord alleged that there were 12 prior non-payment proceedings in the last 22-years. The Court, however, dismissed the case finding that nine of the proceedings occurred more than six years ago and therefore were barred by the six-year statute of limitations for contract claims. In addition, in two of the more recent proceedings, the tenant had warranty of habitability or overcharge defenses. Non-payment proceedings where a tenant has valid defenses such as a bona fide habitability claim or dispute over the amount of rent owed rent do not count in a chronic non-payment case. A mere inability to pay due to lack of money may excuse an isolated instance of non-payment but is not however a valid defense to chronic non-payment.
A small start-up company had just entered its lease for the office space in the Flatiron District. The Lease, especially the rent, was an essential part of the start-up company's business plan.
Most residential leases prohibit subleasing. However, a statute, Real Property Law section 226-b, titted "Right to Sublet", gives the appearance that despite the lease prohibition you can go ahead and sublet. You would not be faulted if you believed that. Alas, it is not that easy and sometimes acts as a trap to the unaware.