Landlord drops eviction of 100-year-old tenant after NY1 report
By Michael Scotto
Tuesday, NY1 told you about a landlord’s effort to evict a 100-year-old woman from her Upper East Side apartment because she had been away, recuperating from a broken pelvis. As a result of our report, the landlord has promised to let her stay. NY1 Manhattan Reporter Michael Scotto broke the story and has this follow-up.
Justa Lopez no longer has to worry about being kicked out of the Upper East Side apartment she has called home for more than 50 years.
On Wednesday, the 100-year-old New Yorker learned that her landlord, Paley Management Corporation, agreed to let her remain in her apartment, one day after NY1 first revealed the company’s eviction efforts.
“I feel much better,” Lopez said in a phone call with NY1. “Thank you, thank you very much. You give me some hope.”
Lopez’s plight began a year ago, when she fell in her apartment, fracturing her pelvis.
She went to a hospital, then a nursing home, and finally to her daughter’s Long Island home to recover.
The landlord served her with eviction papers, saying her absence meant she was no longer living in the rent-controlled apartment.
When NY1 first spoke to Lopez, she was understandably distraught. “I don’t know how long I’m going to live,” Lopez said when we first interviewed her. “But I don’t know why he’s so mean to me, because I’m not going to be 200.”
Lopez pays $149 a month to live in the two-bedroom apartment, which is far, far below the market rate. She told NY1 that she believed her landlord wanted her out in order to jack up the rent, and used a surveillance camera outside her door to document her absence.
She also complained that the apartment was in bad shape, blaming her fall on slanted floors that caused her walker to roll away from her.
Her lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey of Adam Leitman Bailey P.C., says the landlord has agreed to finally fix the place, in addition to dropping the eviction threat.
“We need to make the apartment in the condition where she can be safe, not worry about falling down,” Leitman Bailey said.
After seeing our initial story, the mayor’s office said a city inspector would be dispatched to the apartment.
Lopez says she feels relieved but will feel better if the landlord actually fixes her floor. For now, she will remain on Long Island until the apartment is repaired.