144-16 35 Avenue Tenants Corp. v. 1P – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In 144-16 35 Avenue Tenants Corp. v. 1P, NYLJ, June 26, 1996, at 31, col 2 (Civ Ct, Queens County), the petitioner was the owner of a unit who rented out the unit to a subtenant. As a result of water damage, the subtenant moved out. The owner suit the cooperative for damages for breach of the warranty of habitability. The court dismissed the suit, holding that the fact that the unit holder had not collected full rent did not distinguish the case from Gerevitz.

The court held since petitioner on the apartment, and to direct the cooperative to accept the maintenance due. The petitioner claimed that the cooperative brought the holdover proceeding to harass him for complaining about the need for repairs. He claimed that he was entitled to an abatement of maintenance because the cooperative breached its warranty of habitability since 2003. Petitioner professed a willingness to pay back maintenance but disputed the charges assessed. He claimed that the cooperative had refused to accept his checks and allowed his checks to become stale.

The Court issued a temporary injunction restraining the cooperative from selling the decedent's shares pending the hearing and determination of the proceeding. The cooperative opposed the injunction.

The cooperative claimed that "although petitioner spent occasional nights at the Premises, no individual has inhabited the Premises full-time for at least the past eight (8) years." Affidavit of Alex Rubenstein, President of the cooperative's Board of Directors, sworn to June 25, 2008, paragraph 3.

The cooperative alleged that petitioner's claim of needed repairs and imperfect conditions were "but an obfuscation in an attempt to conceal the fact that petitioner has failed and continues to fail to make maintenance payments due the cooperative." Id., paragraph 5. The cooperative claimed that petitioner had failed to pay maintenance charges since January, 2007. As of June 1, 2008, the petitioner owed $18,304.91 in back maintenance and legal fees plus $8,980-44 in "old severed charges." Affidavit of Frank Degaetano, employee of Wentworth Properties, managing agent of the cooperative, sworn to June 25, 2008, paragraph 11. "However, the Cooperative is only seeking the current charges of $18,304.91." Id. The petitioner was the owner of a unit who rented out the unit to a subtenant. As a result of water damage, the subtenant moved out. The owner suit the cooperative for damages for breach of the warranty of habitability. The court dismissed the suit, holding that the fact that the unit holder had not collected full rent did not distinguish the case from Gerevitz.

The court held since petitioner that the tenants were the occupants, for purposes of the warranty, so that plaintiffs had no standing to sue and dismissed the action. In dicta, the court noted that the plaintiffs had charged full rent for the units, making it inequitable for them to obtain a rent abatement based on the warranty.