The Petitioner, a recalcitrant unit owner at a condominium, commenced an HP Proceeding against the Board, seeking to force the Board to correct an erroneous violation issued by the New York City Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) against the condominium. Specifically, the Board, in an exercise of its business judgment, replaced the condominium’s hard-wired intercom system with Virtual Doorman. At the unit owner’s urging, HPD issued a violation against the building on the grounds that the alleged lack of a hard wired intercom system violated the Multiple Dwelling Law.
Using its expertise in both Landlord/Tenant and Condo/Cooperative law, the ALBPC team secured judgment dismissing the subject violation. The Petitioner made several arguments in support of its petition that ALBPC was able to refute. First, ALB was able to establish that because the subject condominium was only four units, there was no provision of the Multiple Dwelling Law that the Petitioner could rely on to require the Board to have an intercom system at all.
Second, Petitioner argued that the alleged lack of an intercom system at the condominium violated Federal, State, and City anti-discrimination laws and that the Board was required to revert the old system as a “reasonable accommodation” in order to permit emergency services to access his unit in the event he suffered from an asthma attack. However, the Court agreed with the ALBPC team’s argument that the Board was not under any obligation to give Petitioner the exact accommodation he demanded and that the Virtual Doorman was certainly sufficient to permit emergency services to access the subject unit.
Lastly, Petitioner claimed that removal of the old intercom system was an alteration of the “common interest” of the condominium in violation of the Condominium Act, New York Real Property Law § 339-e. However, as ALBPC argued: (1) New York City Civil Court Act § 110 provides that the jurisdiction of housing court is limited to enforcement of housing standards and any claim of a violation of the Condominium Act is plainly outside that jurisdiction; and (2) Petitioner conflated the term “common interest” (ie the proportionate, undivided interest of unit owners in the common elements), which cannot be altered without unit owner approval, with the term “common elements” as defined by RPL § 339-e and the Condominium’s Declaration, which the Board has the absolute authority to alter, repair, and/or maintain in accordance with the Condominium’s By-Laws.
In response to ALBPC’s unassailable arguments, the Court granted ALBPC’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the violation as a matter of law.
Dov Treiman and Courtney J. Lerias represented Adam Leitman Bailey, PC on the matter.