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Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Wins Summary Judgment and Dismissal of Retaliatory Eviction Defense in Holdover Proceeding

The tenants of record vacated a free market apartment in New York City but left an occupant behind who refused to leave. The landlord turned to Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. for help.

We served a notice to quit and commenced a holdover proceeding. Receiving advice to stall the case, the occupant filed an ERAP application, which stayed the case. We immediately moved to vacate the stay, arguing, among other things, that the non-tenant occupant is not entitled to an ERAP related stay because he is not a tenant and that no tenancy would be preserved by payment of ERAP funds. The stay was vacated.

Next, the judge directed the occupant to file an answer. Again receiving advice to delay, the occupant asserted a defense of retaliatory eviction. He claimed that the owner decided to evict him only after he called HPD to complain of apartment conditions.

The Court then determined that the occupant needed assistance and appointed a guardian ad litem to assist him in the case.

We moved for summary judgment and to dismiss the defense of retaliatory eviction. We demonstrated our client’s prima facie entitlement to judgment showing they own the premises, that the premises are unregulated, and that the occupant is a licensee holding over after the tenants of record vacated the premises. As to retaliatory eviction, we argued that the defense lacked merit because the occupant was never a tenant, which (based on the applicable statutory authority and case law) is a prerequisite to a retaliatory eviction defense. The court agreed with our argument confirming that non-tenants lack standing to assert the defense of retaliatory eviction. The court granted our motion for summary judgment.

The court issued a judgment of possession and directed the issuance of a warrant in favor of our client.

Vladimir Mironenko, partner at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. represented the landlord.

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