The was a seemingly straightforward non-primary residence case. In a rent-regulated unit, a tenant must actually reside in the apartment as their primary residence; a number of factors are considered by a court in deciding a contested issue. In this case, the tenant was living—literally—on the beach in one of her two ocean front homes. Moreover, she had rented out her approximately $500 per month New York City apartment, which she would pop into once or twice a year for a few weeks at a time, to a subtenant.
When confronted with this overwhelmingly strong case, the tenant did not argue her physical location, but instead concocted a “defense” that she was self-medicating because she had sexual identity issues. She also claimed that being evicted from a rent regulated apartment was causing additional anxiety. This necessitated a guardian and delayed the case for over a year.
Legal services, for their part, were put on the case and assigned their senior trial supervisor, along with the might of a major international firm, to assist in promulgating this novel defense.
Of course, there was a plethora of frivolous motions interposed to delay trial. Ultimately, when the trial was had, the tenant would not substantiate the purported defenses. The court rendered a decision in 12 days. After the defeat, counsel still refused to settle the case. Ultimately, the tenant fired legal services – perhaps for their zealousness, perhaps as a delay process.
Now, the landlord would be seeking to foreclose on the beachfront properties on the tenant’s liability for market level use and occupancy.
If not for the doggedness of the landlord and the efforts of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C, both of whom really believed in fighting this injustice, undoubtedly, this malfeasance would have continued in perpetuity.
Christopher Halligan of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. represented the landlord and argued the case at its successful trial.