Adam Leitman Bailey Obtains Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars for Tenants and Forces Landlord to Repair Building
90 Washington Street was described by developers as being a “luxury” and “state-of-the-art” complex with amenities that included a brand new gym, a driving range on the roof, 24-hour concierge, and gourmet kitchens and baths. This description attracted a group of mostly twenty-something young professionals who were looking to take advantage of what was billed as “affordable luxury.” When they arrived, however, they found the building to be anything but.
Many tenants were initially turned away from the building on their move-in date because their apartments were incomplete, causing them to endure extra expenses including temporary hotel stays and storage spaces for their belongings. After finally being allowed into their apartments, the tenants were extremely disappointed in what they found. The heat and hot water in several apartments was extremely inconsistent and sometimes did not work for days at a time. The elevator was constantly out of order, forcing tenants to walk up and down several flights of stairs every day. Individual apartments were also incomplete and not suitable for living: tenants were met with loose floorboards, exposed wires, incomplete painting, improperly sealed windows, and cracked tiles in kitchens and bathrooms.
The management team, headed by developer Joe Moinian, insisted that the repairs would be made in a timely and efficient manner and at no expense or inconvenience to the tenants, but this was simply not the case. Tenants were forced to use space heaters which greatly increased electric bills, work on the building began at an extremely early hour in the morning, and building employees were entering apartments without permission of the tenants. The overall goal of the tenants at 90 Washington was to receive rent abatement for living in unsuitable conditions, and to ensure that all repairs and construction have been completed to the satisfaction of the residents. In order to achieve these results for the tenants of 90 Washington, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. filed a law suit in February of 2004 with the following arguments:
- 90 Washington was falsely and fraudulently advertised ;
- Developers promised move-in dates of August 2003 when they knew or had reason to know that this was false representation;
- Tenants were given delayed move-in dates but found that their apartments were still not complete, and therefore incurred substantial financial costs;
- Tenants lived without heat, hot water, gas or electricity for prolonged periods of time;
- Heating and sprinkler pipes burst causing flooding and flood damage;
- Tenants were permitted to occupy their apartments before a Certificate of Occupancy had been obtained from the city;
- Construction work begun before 7 a.m. in violation of the Department of Buildings code.
Outcome: On April 22, 2004, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. was able to reach a settlement with the building developers and managers to get the tenants of 90 Washington reimbursement for the conditions in which they had been living for the past several months. The Stipulation of Settlement stated the following terms:
- Each petitioner/tenant shall receive a two month rent abatement to be credited as follows:
- One month immediately upon execution of this agreement
- One month at the expiration of Petitioner/Tenants’ current lease
- 50% of electric bill during time tenants were without heat and used space heaters
- Tenants shall submit to landlord a list of conditions for each apartment that need to be rectified along with dates landlord can access apartments to make repairs.