Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. has successfully defeated two separate applications by a commercial tenant to prevent its eviction from a Long Island City industrial space after it violated the terms of its lease.
On March 15 and 20, 2023, Rosenberg & Estis Member Alexander Lycoyannis successfully represented the owner in Supreme Court, Queens County and the Appellate Division, Second Department, where the tenant sought injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the prosecution of a separate holdover proceeding pending in the New York City Civil Court, Queens County.
“This case involved delay tactics that commercial tenants often employ when owners seek to enforce their legal rights in court,” said Lycoyannis. “The court rightly showed no sympathy for the tenant here, and the rulings demonstrate how owners can successfully vindicate their rights where the tenant has broken the terms of its lease.”
The dispute began when R&E’s client, the owner of the industrial property in Queens, sought access to perform necessary structural repairs to the building’s roof. Despite the owner’s repeated efforts to work out an amicable resolution over the ensuing months, the tenant persisted in refusing to grant access and the owner served a notice to cure, citing the failure to grant access for the roof repairs, failure to provide proof of required insurance and other defaults.
When the tenant ignored the notice, the owner moved to terminate the lease and commenced a holdover proceeding in Civil Court, Queens County.
On the eve of the initial return date of the holdover proceeding, the tenant filed an action in Supreme Court, Queens County and, simultaneously, sought Yellowstone and preliminary injunctions accompanied by a temporary restraining order enjoining the prosecution of the holdover proceeding.
Lycoyannis successfully argued that the tenant had no legal basis for the requested relief. Lycoyannis noted that (1) the application for Yellowstone relief was untimely, having been filed well after the lease’s termination, and, further, that (2) the application for a preliminary injunction was improper because the arguments advanced in favor of injunctive relief were arguments that, if credited by the court, would constitute defenses to the holdover proceeding. By order dated March 15, 2023, Supreme Court (Joseph Risi, J.) agreed with R&E’s arguments, declined to issue a TRO and ruled in the owner’s favor on the merits.
Shortly thereafter, the tenant’s counsel gave R&E notice that it would be filing a motion at the Appellate Division, Second Department to overturn Supreme Court’s order and to grant the requested TRO. Nevertheless, after oral argument on March 20, 2023, the Appellate Division affirmed Supreme Court’s order and denied the tenant’s TRO application.
“Landlord-tenant disputes are meant to be heard in the New York City Civil Court. However, as the tenant did here, commercial tenants sometimes seek an injunction in New York State Supreme Court to stop owners from proceeding with Civil Court cases,” said Lycoyannis. “Nevertheless, the Supreme Court will not stop a holdover proceeding from moving forward based on arguments that, in reality, are simply defenses to the holdover proceeding. The bottom line: R&E will vigorously defend against and defeat commercial tenants’ efforts to obstruct owners from enforcing their legal rights.”