178 Nassau LLC v. Tobey Smith

Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. secured a judgment for the petitioner, 178 Nassau LLC, before Judge Eleanora Ofshtein in Kings Country Civil Court, against a tenant holding over in a Brooklyn apartment, achieving possession of a disputed apartment that ultimately was proven to be an unregulated residential month-to-month tenancy. The case represented the final steps in a three-year legal battle that focused on a rent stabilization exemption in a three-story building. A predecessor law firm initially commenced the holdover proceeding on the theory that the subject apartment was exempt from rent stabilization because it was located in a three-story building that had fewer than six units and, as a matter of law, was a frame building incapable of accommodating six or more residential units. R&E’s administrative law department performed a FOIL request and reviewed the building’s file at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. R&E discovered that the prior owner had in 2004 successfully argued to DHCR that the entire building was exempt from regulation due to the substantial rehabilitation that included the conversion of the ground floor units into commercial space. Upon this discovery, the petitioner successfully moved to amend the petition to assert the new theory of deregulation based upon the substantial rehabilitation and to have the pending summary judgment motions withdrawn. After the respondent asserted many of the same affirmative defenses and counterclaims to the amended petition, the petitioner moved to strike the defenses relating to the recovery of possession and for partial summary judgment, which was awarded by Judge Ofshtein. Shortly after Judge Oftshtein’s Order, the parties settled the proceeding upon what the petitioner viewed as favorable terms.

( Civil Court Kings County, Decided August 19, 2016)
(Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. Team: Adam Lindenbaum)