Valsac 908 LLC v. Crespo, Index No. 307057/2021

CourtNew York Civil Court
Writing for the CourtHON. KAREN MAY BACDAYAN, JUDGE
Citation2022 NY Slip Op 50484 (U)
PartiesValsac 908 LLC, Petitioner, v. Santiago Crespo, Respondent, John Doe, Jane Doe, Respondents-undertenants.
Decision Date10 June 2022
Docket NumberIndex No. 307057/2021

2022 NY Slip Op 50484(U)

Valsac 908 LLC, Petitioner,
v.

Santiago Crespo, Respondent,

John Doe, Jane Doe, Respondents-undertenants.

Index No. 307057/2021

Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County

June 10, 2022


Unpublished Opinion

Law Office of Allison M. Furman, PC (Allison M. Furman, Esq.), for the petitioner

New York Legal Assistance Group (Anthony Howden, Esq.), for respondent, Santiago Crespo

HON. KAREN MAY BACDAYAN, JUDGE

Recitation, as required by CPLR 2219 (a) of the papers considered in review of this motion by NYSCEF Doc No: Papers

Notice of motion, affirmation in support 16, 17

Affirmation in opposition to motion and exhibits thereto 18, 20, 21

Affidavit in opposition to motion 19

Reply affirmation 22

After oral argument and on the foregoing cited papers, the decision and order of the court is as follows:

BACKGROUND, PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND FACTS

This is a holdover proceeding commenced by Valsac 908 LLC ("petitioner") against Santiago Crespo ("respondent"), and John Doe and Jane Doe, respondent-undertenants. John and Jane Doe have not appeared in this proceeding. Respondent has appeared by an attorney.

Undisputed is that respondent was the superintendent of the subject premises who came into possession of the subject apartment as an incident to his employment by petitioner in 2017. (NYSCEF Doc. No 1, petition ¶2; NYSCEF Doc No. 19, Crespo affidavit ¶ 3.) His employment as superintendent was terminated in October 2021. (Id. ¶ 5; NYSCEF Doc. No 17, petitioner's attorney's affirmation ¶ 3.) Respondent states that he "was wrongfully terminated" from his job. (NYSCEF Doc No 19, Crespo affidavit ¶ 5.)

After the proceeding was commenced, Respondents filed a "hardship declaration" pursuant to the COVID Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act ("CEEFPA") which had the effect of automatically staying the proceeding pending a determination of eligibility. (L 2021, c 56, part BB, subpart A, § 8, as amended by L 2021, c 417, part A, § 4; Admin Order of Chief Admin Judge of Cts AO/34/22]. On August 1, 2021, CEEFPA was enjoined by the United States Supreme as violative of landlords' due process rights. (Chrysafis v Marks, 594 U.S. -, 141 S.Ct. 2482 [2021] ["... no man can be a judge in his own case..."].) CEEFPA was modified three weeks later to address the Supreme Court's concerns by including a mechanism through which a landlord could challenge the automatic stay prompted by the filing of a hardship declaration. (L 2021, c 417, part C, subpart A.) The hardship declaration stay provisions expired January 15, 2022.

On April 7, 2022, the same day that petitioner moved to have this proceeding restored to the court's calendar as the stay occasioned by the filing of the hardship declaration had expired, Respondents filed an Emergency Rental Assistance Program ("ERAP") application. (NYSCEF Doc No. 14.) Like submission of a hardship declaration, submission of an application for ERAP, has the effect of staying "all proceedings pending a determination of eligibility." Thus, this proceeding was administratively stayed once the court was notified of the application. (L 2021, c 56, part BB, subpart A, § 8, as amended by L 2021, c 417, part A, § 4; Admin Order of Chief Admin Judge of Cts AO/34/22.)

Petitioner has moved to vacate the ERAP stay as "[b]y virtue of his position as superintendent, Respondent is not a tenant or occupant of the [a]partment obligated to pay rent. Thus, [r]espondent does not meet the eligibility requirements of the ERAP statute." (NYSCEF Doc No. 17, petitioner's attorney's affirmation ¶ 26.)

Respondent opposes petitioner's motion on that basis that the ERAP stay provisions apply to this proceeding as the plain language of the statute is explicit and does not distinguish between holdover and nonpayment proceedings. (NYSCEF Doc No. 18, respondent's attorney's affirmation ¶¶ 16-17.) Moreover, respondent argues, eligibility...

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