Clermont York Associates LLC v. Zgodny, NYLJ, Feb. 5, 2013 [Civ.Ct. NY Co. 2013]

In a case protecting the rights of tenants whose landlords illegally charged them market-rate rents while in receipt of “J-51” tax abatements, David convinced Housing Court Judge Jack Stoller to vacate a stipulation where a tenant agreed to pay the unlawful higher rent. In Clermont York Associates LLC v. Zgodny, David’s client initially appeared in court without an attorney and signed an agreement to pay the full market rent sought by the landlord. He subsequently retained David who used a recent appellate court decision to argue that the rent was improper and the tenant, who signed the agreement without benefit of an attorney, should not be evicted based upon an illegal rent.  The victory means that David’s client will likely see his rent substantially reduced and will serve as a precedent for other tenants to reduce their rents as well. The decision merited a write up in the The New York Law Journal.

 


223-15 Realty Corp. v. Basse, et al., — Misc.3d –, — NYS2d –,  2012 NY Slip Op 22335 (Sup.Ct. Kings Co. 2012).

David won Loft Law coverage for four sets of tenants under the 2010 amendments and beat back the landlord’s attempt to evict the tenants.  The landlord contended that the building could not be covered under the law because it could not be legalized.  David showed that, not only was the building capable of being legalized, but he successfully argued legalization was separate from coverage under the law.  The court dismissed the landlord’s ejectment action and referred the legalization issues to the Loft Board.

 


Harvey 1390, LLC v. Bodenheim, 96 AD3d 664, 948 NYS2d 32 (1st Dep’t 2012)

In this major decision, David significantly expanded the rights of tenants in NYC Housing Court by giving the court greater authority to extend their time to make rent payments.  Prior case law had been increasingly interpreted as restricting the court’s ability to excuse late payments under stipulations regardless of the efforts of indigent tenants to obtain emergency grants from the Department of Social Services, private charities or other sources.  This resulted in the evictions of thousands of poor families throughout the City even though their late payments were not their fault.  David, who represented the tenant pro bono, put a stop to this practice and, as a result, poor tenants now have a much greater chance of avoiding homelessness.

 


167 North Ninth Street Corp. v. Helfand, 33 Misc.3d 518, 928 NYS2d 922 (Civ.Ct. NY Co. 2011).

In this case, relying on 18th-century common law precedent, David convinced the court to find that a former building superintendent was, as a matter of a law, a tenant.  As a mere employee, the client would have had no defense to eviction but, as a tenant, he could then claim protection under the Loft Law, making this a very significant victory for David’s client.

 


Masjid Usman,  Inc. v. Beech 140, LLC, 88 AD3d 942, 892 NYS2d 430  (2d Dep’t 2009).

David successfully defended preliminary injunction stopping the eviction of a commercial tenant.  The case represents a potentially significant expansion of the judicial protections available to commercial tenants by allowing them to seek a preliminary injunction staying an eviction even after the landlord has served a notice terminating the tenancy.

 


Acevedo v. Piano Building LLC, 70 AD3d 124, 891 NYS2d 41 (1st Dep’t 2009).

David won rent stabilization protection for tenants in a former Loft Law unit where the landlord had “bought out” the prior tenant and claimed the unit was free from all regulation.  This case solidified and expanded the protections first established by David’s precedent-setting case, 182 Fifth Avenue, LLC v. Design Development Corp. [see below].  The decision was also featured in the New York Law Journal.

 


542 East 14th Street Realty LLC v. Lee, 66 AD3d 18, 883 NYS2d 188 (1st Dep’t 2009).

David was retained by the tenant’s attorney of record to argue appeal and he succeeded in establishing that rent-stabilized tenant could not be evicted because she had spent two years caring for her ill parents in California.  The decision resulted in a front-page article in the New York Law Journal quoting David.

 


Little West 12th Street Realty, LP v. Inconiglios, 19 Misc.3d 508, 854 NYS2d 632 (Civ.Ct. NY Co. 2008), aff’d, 23 Misc.3d 28 (App.Term 1st Dep’t 2009) .

David won summary judgment finding a building in the Meat Packing District covered by the Loft Law, giving his client statutory protection from eviction and making him eligible for a potentially substantial rent overcharge award.  David also successfully defended the lower court decision on appeal.

 


Art Omi, Inc. v. Vallejos, 21 Misc 3d 129(A) (App.Term 1st Dep’t 2008), affirming, 15 Misc.3d 870, 832 NYS2d 915 (Civ.Ct. NY Co. 2007).

After trial, court ruled that the alleged prime tenancy was “illusory” and David’s client, a single mother who lived in the apartment and paid rent for ten years, was the lawful stabilized tenant.  David successfully defended his trial victory on appeal.

 


Tan Holding Corp. v. Eklund, 33 AD3d 487, 823 NYS2d 31 (1st Dep’t 2006).
Forrester v. American Package Co., Inc., 55 AD3d 787, 869 NYS2d 547 (2d Dep’t 2008).
American Package Co., Inc. v. Kocik, 55 AD3d 762, 866 NYS2d 284 (2d Dep’t 2008).
Sima Realty LLC v. Philips, 282 AD2d 394, 724 NYS2d 51 (1st Dep’t 2001).

In these four cases, David, representing residential loft tenants, defeated the landlord’s claim for rent or “use and occupancy” because the building lacked a proper certificate of occupancy.

 


545 Eighth Avenue Associates, LP v. Shanaman, 12 Misc.3d 66, 819 NYS2d 813 (App.Term 1st  Dep’t 2006).

In a precedent setting case, David established that the “illusory tenancy” doctrine applied to apartments covered by the Loft Law, enabling his clients, the victims of a rent overcharge scheme by the prime tenants, to argue that they were the lawful regulated tenants.

 


Kokot v. Barton, 12 Misc.3d 614, 810 NYS2d 889 (Civ.Ct. NY Co. 2006).

David prevented his client’s eviction and established that a landlord is bound by his lease renewal offer notwithstanding a proclaimed desire to occupy the apartment for himself or his family.

 


VVV Partnership v. Moran, 10 Misc.3d 130(A) App.Term 1st Dep’t  2005).

182 Fifth Avenue, LLC v. Design Development Concepts, Inc., 300 AD2d 198, 751 NYS2d 739 (1st Dep’t 2002). .

In these two cases, David established that tenants of lofts formerly covered by the Loft Law are protected by rent stabilization despite the landlord’s “buy out” of the prior tenant’s rights and a nominally “commercial” lease.

 


White Knight, Ltd. v. Shea, 10 AD3d 567, 782 NYS2d 76 (1st Dep’t 2004).

David obtained rent stabilization rights for his client by convincing the court that separately rented rooms in a theater constituted “housing accommodations.”

 


Wolinsky v. Kee Yip Realty, Inc., 2 NY3d 487, 779 NYS2d 812 (2004).

David represented the tenants in this precedent setting case from the Court of Appeals establishing parameters loft tenants’ rights under rent stabilization.

 


Miller v. Margab Realty, LLC, NYLJ, Apr. 11, 2001, p. 19, col. 2 (Sup.Ct. NY Co.).

David won rent stabilization protection for the tenants and eventually negotiated a $1.4 million “buy out” for his clients.

 


Mengoni v. DHCR, 97 NY2d 630, 735 NYS2d 867 (2001).

David successfully defended his client’s $200,000 rent overcharge award in the Court of Appeals.

 


Tan Holding Corp. v. Wallace, 187 Misc.2d 687, 724 NYS2d 260 (App.Term 1st Dep’t 2001).

David secured the first appellate decision holding that tenants of residential lofts not subject to the Loft Law could be protected by rent stabilization.

 


Shapiro v. DHCR, 262 AD2d 18, 690 NYS2d 583 (1st Dep’t 1999), aff’d sub nom., Elkin v. Roldan, 94 NY2d 853, 704 NYS2d 201 (1999).

David preserved his client’s rent-stabilized tenancy in a high-income deregulation proceeding [a/k/a “luxury deregulation”] by convincing every court – the trial court, the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals – that tenant’s delay in filing answer to deregulation petition was excusable.

 


Cadim Stonehenge, LLP v. Gehkt, NYLJ, July 14, 1999, p. 27, col. 4 (Civ.Ct. NY Co.).

David saved his client’s home by proving that prior landlord performed alleged alterations and new landlord could not evict the tenant even though work was done without proper permits.

 


Phoenix Four, Inc. v. Albertini, 245 AD2d 166, 665 NYS2d 893 (1st Dep’t 1997).

David successfully argued that residential loft tenancies could be subject to rent stabilization, resulting in settlement that garnered his client a lifetime lease.

 


125 Church Street Development Co. v. Grassfield, 170 Misc.2d 1, 648 NYS2d 515 (Civ.Ct. NY Co. 1996) .

David obtained right of subtenant to conduct deposition of “prime tenant” and owner of building covered by the Loft Law, providing leverage for eventually $150,000 settlement.

 


Ramiah v. Neri, NYLJ, July 19, 1995, p. 27, col. 5 (Civ.Ct. NY Co.).

After trial, David’s clients won $85,000 on their rent overcharge claim and had their legal fees paid by the landlord.

 


Olavson v. DHCR, NYLJ, June 2, 1993, p. 27, col. 5 (Sup.Ct. NY Co.).

David overturned a NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal decision denying his client’s rent overcharge complaint by proving that landlord committed fraud.  David eventually negotiated a $385,000 settlement of the overcharge claim.

 


 

For a complete list of reported cases litigated by David, see all cases.