In 245 Realty Associates v. Sussis, 243 AD2d 29, 673 N.Y.S.2d 635 (1st Dept 1998), the Court was dealing with the right of a prevailing party in a holdover proceeding to collect attorney's fees as the successor-in-interest to his deceased brother's expired lease, not his obligation to pay rent.
The Appellate Division held that although the successor-in-interest is not yet a tenant until the owner finally provides him with a lease, he still has a right to succeed to his brother's entitlement under the expired lease to collect attorneys' fees as the prevailing party in the holdover proceeding.
Indeed the Court noted "the difference between the occupant's status as a successor-in-interest and his eventual status as a tenant in his own right.
There is a marked difference between the two....Under ordinary circumstances, the status of a successor-in-interest to the original tenant may have only limited relevance since no lease agreement has yet been entered into. The successor-in-interest is not yet a tenant." (245 Realty Associates v. Sussis, 243 AD2d 29, at 35, 673 N.Y.S.2d 635.)