Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., was recently called upon to investigate a tenant of record’s sister’s succession claim to a regulated apartment. Pursuant to applicable law, to remain in the apartment after the tenant vacated, the sister had the burden of proving a statutorily recognized familial relationship with the tenant (siblings qualify) and co-residency in the apartment with the tenant for two years immediately prior to his permanent vacatur of the apartment.
The tenant of record and succession claimant immediately produced documentation evidencing a familial relationship. They also produced what at first seemed like compelling evidence demonstrating co-residency in the subject apartment, including tax returns, and other government and private entity bills and records tying the two persons to the subject apartment during the relevant time period.
The team at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., was suspicious. Intent on uncovering the truth, the team continued their aggressive investigation which ultimately revealed that the tenant possessed an alternate rent-stabilized apartment in his sole name at the same time that he allegedly resided in the subject apartment with his sister. Given the chance to explain this discrepancy, the respondents represented that the alternate apartment was rented in 2004 for the tenant of record’s children and his wife from whom he was separated.
Smelling a rat, the team dug further and discovered that the tenant’s ties to the alternate apartment dated as far back as 1996. Specifically, the team uncovered that the tenant established electric and cable service in the alternate apartment solely in his own name in 1996 and that the landlord of the alternate apartment obtained a judgment against the tenant in 2002. The respondents’ story quickly changed as the tenant conceded that he rented the alternate apartment not in 2004 as previously claimed, but in 1996. He now claimed that it was rented for “other relatives.” In light of these glaring inconsistencies and contradictions, the trier of fact denied succession based on the “lack of credible, sufficient and reliable proof.”
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.’s Vladimir Mironenko and Dov Treiman represented the landlord.