Several years ago, a landlord sought to evict a long-term rent-controlled tenant based on her non-primary residence in the subject premises. The team at Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., conducted an investigation, which revealed that the tenant owned a property outside of New York. We served a termination notice upon the tenant. In turn, before a case was commenced, the tenant voluntarily provided voluminous documentation which appeared to tie her to the subject premises, including tax returns, financial documents, medical records, account statements, voter records, and other documentary evidence. Despite the landlord’s belief that the tenant was seldom present in the apartment, the tenant’s strong documented ties to the apartment and lack of objective evidence on our part meant an uphill battle, at best.
Instead of commencing a weak case, we strategically recommended that the landlord wait and build a strong one. We suggested that the landlord install cameras to record the tenant’s absence from the apartment, alert neighbors to the issue, maintain surveillance and ongoing investigations and keep detailed records. Additionally, as there was another occupant in the apartment, we investigated this individual to ascertain his connection to and relationship with the tenant of record and the apartment.
Approximately two years after the initial notice was served, we combined all resources, records, investigations and inquiries and served a new notice of termination upon the tenant. The tenant again voluntarily produced extensive documentation purporting to tie her to the apartment. However, this time we were prepared to demonstrate that the tenant was not physically present in the apartment and did not maintain it for actual living purposes. Moreover, we knew that the occupant was not a close family member of the tenant. With this ammunition we commenced a non-primary residence case.
In court, the tenant quickly realized that she could not prevail. We negotiated with the tenant, demonstrating that she cannot defend against the evidence and that her occupant had no independent rights to the apartment. When the tenant asked for a buyout, we continued to negotiate to obtain the best terms for our client, including a fast vacate date, a low buyout sum, and waiver of all rights and claims to the apartment by the occupant. On the second court appearance, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., settled the case, with the landlord paying a nominal buy-out to the tenant in exchange for a fast surrender of the subject premises. Once the main terms were ironed out in Court, we immediately drafted and negotiated a comprehensive stipulation of settlement and obtained the Court’s approval as well as a final judgment of possession against the tenant. We then applied for a warrant of eviction, with execution stayed pending the tenant’s compliance with the terms of the settlement.
Vladimir Mironenko and Jamie Schare Friedland of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., represented the landlord in the non-primary residence proceeding.