Judge Gary F. Marton

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In this nonpayment action, landlord failed to appear on the adjourned date, and the court dismissed the petition. Yet, it also adjourned the trial of tenant’s five counterclaims, including for breach of the warranty of habitability and rent overcharge. The court noted landlord was on notice of the defective conditions, including mice, obstructions and defects in the bathtub waste line, among others, since September 2012 that were not corrected until December 2013 rendering the premises less than completely habitable, and diminishing its value. It awarded tenant an abatement of 25 percent of the monthly rent from September 2012 through December 2013. Further, the court found the premise that landlord performed a substantial rehabilitation in 2006 “frankly ludicrous,” and failed to meet its burden to prove individual apartment improvements (IAI) were anything beyond ordinary repairs that did not entitle it to an IAI increase. Hence, it found tenant was overcharged, and as evidence supported a finding landlord fabricated a claim for an IAI increase, and landlord failed to meet its burden to show the overcharge was not willful, tenant was granted treble damages. Also, the court awarded tenant interest on the overcharge, but declined to award punitive damages, awarding tenant $9,069.01.