The Case of the Tenant Who Evicted Herself: A Chronic Nonpayment Holdover Story

By Christopher Halligan

Landlord of a rent stabilized apartment in Brooklyn for years could not collect rent from his tenant without starting a nonpayment case. After enduring seven nonpayment cases over a span of two years, the chronic nonpayment holdover case was ripe for the coup de grâce.

The key to the victory of this case was the preparation and attention to detail from the date the owner bought the building. We counseled the landlord to document his consistent and routine efforts by sending the tenant letters requesting to inspect the apartment to ensure no repairs were ever needed during the two-year span of time. Simultaneously, we started a series of nonpayment cases, seven in total, so that when the inevitable holdover was brought, the tenant would have no excuse for her behavior.

This preparation laid the foundation for a termination notice which incorporated the entire history of the tenancy. The notice included not only the tenant’s defaults in the payment of rent, but also two years of correspondence which demonstrated that this landlord did all he was required to do to maintain a repair free apartment.

Ultimately, the tenant was forced to capitulate, as she had no real defense to the case. This was a case years in the making; it ended in a financial boon for our client, the landlord, because we essentially let the tenant evict herself by ensuring she had no defense.

Carolyn Rualo and Christopher Halligan represented the landlord for Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.

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