Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant

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Debtor, a New York City tenant, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the value of her apartment lease on Schedule B as personal property exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit." At issue was whether the value inherent in debtor's rent-stabilized lease as a consequence of the protections afforded by New York's Rent Stabilization Code, N.Y. Comp. Code R. & Regs. tit. 9, 2520.1, made the lease, or some portion of its value, exempt from debtor's bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit" within the meaning of New York Debtor and Creditor Law 282(2). The court certified this unsettled issue to the New York Court of Appeals, which held that a rent‐stabilized lease qualified as a local public assistance benefit. Rejecting the Trustee’s argument that “benefits” should be limited to cash payments, the court noted that the rent‐stabilization program had “all of the characteristics of a local 10 public assistance benefit” under the statute and that an exemption was consistent with the purpose of protecting a debtor’s essential needs, including housing. The Second Circuit then reversed and remanded to allow Debtor to claim the exemption from her bankruptcy estate. View "Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3604(f), and New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law 296(5) and (18)(2). Plaintiffs alleged that defendants denied their application for a lease because of the disability of their son, who suffers from major depression, and that they were denied reasonable accommodation for his condition. On appeal, plaintiffs principally contend that the district court erred in dismissing their claims as a matter of law and that it should have granted judgment as a matter of law in favor of plaintiffs on their reasonable accommodation claim. The court concluded that the district court properly declined to grant judgment as a matter of law in favor of plaintiffs on the reasonable accommodation claim, but that, as to all of plaintiffs' claims, the evidence was sufficient to preclude the granting of judgment in favor of defendants as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for trial.View "Olsen v. Stark Holmes, Inc." on Justia Law

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Debtor, a New York City tenant, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the value of her apartment lease on Schedule B as personal property exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit." At issue was whether the value inherent in debtor's rent-stabilized lease as a consequence of the protections afforded by New York's Rent Stabilization Code, N.Y. Comp. Code R. & Regs. tit. 9, 2520.1 et seq., made the lease, or some portion of its value, exempt from debtor's bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit" within the meaning of New York Debtor and Creditor Law 282(2). The court certified this unsettled issue to the New York Court of Appeals. View "Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that defendants had engaged in a conspiracy to fraudulently increase rents payable by tenants in over 400 buildings they owned in New York City, in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, and the New York Consumer Protection Act (NYCPA), N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 349(a). The parties subsequently agreed to a settlement. At issue on appeal was the fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness of the settlement. The court concluded that the district court's careful review of the settlement warranted the great deference the court normally accords to trial court findings with respect to the fairness of class action settlements. The court also concluded that a fundamental conflict did not exist between the members of the class, and that the Class Counsel's representation was adequate under Rule 12(a)(4). Therefore, it was not necessary to divide the class into subclasses with separate representation. To the extent that plaintiffs argued that the rejection of the settlement by all five remaining named class representatives requires its rejection, the court could not agree. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Charron v. Wiener" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff rented commercial property to AGC under a lease to expire February 28, 2007. In 2006, AGC stopped paying rent and plaintiff obtained a warrant of eviction in state court. On February 2, 2007, before plaintiff could execute the warrant, AGC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; the automatic stay halted eviction efforts. Plaintiff successfully moved to lift the stay and executed the warrant on April 24, 2007. Plaintiff sought, under Section 365(d)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code, post-petition rent, attorneys’ fees, and interest for the period between the Chapter 7 filing date and the date the warrant of eviction was executed. The Bankruptcy Court denied the motion, concluding that the pre-petition issuance of the warrant of eviction terminated the relationship such that there was no “unexpired” lease, the presence of which is necessary to obtain administrative expenses under Section 365(d)(3). The district court affirmed. The Second Circuit vacated. A lease is “unexpired” for purposes of the Code where the tenant has the power to revive the lease under applicable state law. In New York it is the execution, and not the issuance, of the warrant of eviction that extinguishes the tenant’s interest in a lease, so, until the warrant is executed, the lease is “unexpired.” View "In re: Assoc. of Graphic Commc'n, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed from a judgment of the district court granting defendant's motion to dismiss her complaint. On appeal, plaintiff principally contended that the dismissal of her claim brought pursuant to section 7434 of the Internal Revenue Code, a provision that created a civil damages remedy for the willful filing of fraudulent "information return[s]," was in error. The court held that plaintiff's allegations of an intentional failure to file required information returns did not state a claim under this provision, which by its terms required an allegation that a fraudulent information return was willfully filed by defendant. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.