Colonial Vill. LLC v. Green, 2021-21330

CourtNew York City Court
Writing for the CourtLyndon D. Williams, J.
PartiesColonial Village LLC & SAMSON MANAGEMENT LLC, Petitioner-Landlord, v. Mark Green and JOHN and/or JANE DOE, Respondent-Tenant.
Docket NumberIndex 3174-19,2021-21330
Decision Date07 December 2021

Colonial Village LLC & SAMSON MANAGEMENT LLC, Petitioner-Landlord,

Mark Green and JOHN and/or JANE DOE, Respondent-Tenant.

No. 2021-21330

Index No. 3174-19

City Court of Mount Vernon

December 7, 2021

Daniel S. Finger, Esq., Finger & FingerAttorney for Petitioner

Barbara Reilly, Esq., Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Attorney for Respondent

Lyndon D. Williams, J.

Petitioner commenced this nonpayment proceeding on December 18, 2019 seeking to recover the sum of $6, 814.74 comprising alleged rents in arrears of $5, 690.00 and late fees of $1, 124.74 for periods from June 2019 through December 2019, and the issuance of a warrant of eviction and judgment of possession against Respondents. The Petition alleges, inter alia, that Respondent-tenant entered into possession of the premises under a written rental agreement with Petitioner-landlord for monthly rent of $2, 195.00. The Petition also alleges that the premises is subject to the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (EPTA) and that the monthly rent or tenant portion is not greater than the maximum regulatory rents, and that Petitioner is in compliance with applicable regulations and with RPL 235-b regarding the Warranty of Habitability.

The case first appeared on the court's calendar on January 7, 2020 and was subsequently adjourned several times. On January 21, 2020, the parties appeared. Daniel Finger appeared as counsel for Petitioner. The Respondent-tenant, Mark Green, appeared pro se. Mr. Finger stated, on the record, that he had an opportunity to speak with the tenant about repairs needed in the apartment. The Court instructed the tenant to complete the court's complaint concerning living conditions form ("court's living conditions form") and file the form with the court; a copy was given to the landlord's attorney. On Petitioner's counsel request, the case was adjourned to February 11, 2020. The Respondent filed Tenant's Declaration of Hardship During the Covid-19 Pandemic on March 1, 2021.

The court's living conditions form filed by Respondent specified the following five conditions for Petitioner to inspect and repair:

1. Kitchen totally damaged (pictures given to the landlord)
2. Bathroom tiles
3. Hole in bedroom wall
4. Bathroom door
5. Bad smell due to outside and hole in the ceiling

The completed form stated that all or most of the above conditions were reported to the building's manager and to maintenance. On September 13, 2021, both parties appeared. Respondent was represented by Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV). The Court set access dates and instructed the landlord to complete the repairs. The access dates were September 20, 2021 and September 21, 2021.

Both parties appeared on November 1, 2021. Respondent's counsel informed the court that Petitioner had not done the work to remedy the conditions in the apartment since January 21, 2020 when the court's living conditions form was filed with the court and Petitioner. Counsel stated that the tenant and his young daughters have been living with these conditions for over one year. Respondent's counsel placed in the record a certified copy of a Complaint from the Department of Buildings for the City of Mount Vernon ("Building Department") dated February 24, 2021 upon which Building Inspector David Barrett described the following conditions in Respondent's apartment

1. Kitchen Fixtures inoperable
2. Kitchen cabinets broken and wood is withering
3. Wooden floors sinking-in
4. Bathroom tiles aren't corked so water comes from behind them
5. Broken doorknobs throughout apartment

The Building Inspector also made the following observation:

"5/24/21 confirmed repairs need to be made throughout apartment kitchen is in need of immediate repair stove is inoperable damage to walls behind stove, sink separating from wall discovered hole in master bedroom ceiling master closet also need paint and repair (305.3 Interior Surfaces) spoke with management tenant is currently in court work order has been generated"

Further, the Building Department issued Notice of Violation #42876 dated October 22, 2021 against Petitioner with respect to conditions in Respondent's apartment, including water damage throughout the kitchen and noted that the floor in the apartment is in poor condition with accumulation of an unknown substance. The Notice of Violation also states: "OWNER IS REQUIRED TO LOCATE CAUSE OF WATER DAMAGE AND CORRECT THE ABOVE CONDITIONS IMMEDIATELY".

Petitioner's counsel admitted that access was provided on September 21, 2021 but argued that Petitioner had no access to the apartment to make repairs on September 20, 2021. The tenant disputed counsel's assertion stating that access was provided on September 20, 2021 because the building superintendent painted the apartment on that day. With respect to Petitioner having notice of the living conditions in the apartment specified in the tenant's January 21, 2020 complaint, Petitioner's counsel disputed the validity of the court's living conditions form. The court asked counsel to specify what conditions were repaired since January 21, 2020 to which he stated "I don't know off the top of my head what was done or what wasn't done" "I believe some items were done". When the court asked counsel to identify some of the items completed, counsel stated "I don't know what specific work was done" In responding to the Mount Vernon Building Department's complaint and notice of violation, Petitioner's counsel stated "I have not seen it" I can't say if my client has seen it"

Respondent's counsel made an application for the court to issue an order directing Petitioner to immediately remedy the conditions specified in the complaint form filed with the court on January 21, 2020 and conditions described in the...

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