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Justice Winslow http://nycourts.law.com/CourtDocumentViewer.asp?view=Document&docID=44402 PLAINTIFF LANDLORD claimed that defendant nursing home operators breached a 99-year lease by failing to pay rent. Periodic rent step increases were limited to department of health (DOH) reimbursement amounts. A 1989 civil court decision ruled that rent increases were contingent on corresponding reimbursement increases. In 1999, after the DOH’s1998 allowance of additional reimbursement for leasehold improvement expenses, plaintiff demanded additional rent under the step-increase provision. Defendants argued that because they were obliged to pay for leasehold improvements they were the intended beneficiaries of reimbursement increases. The court held that the parties’ rights were governed by the lease. Interpreting the lease, the civil court decision and the parties’ course of conduct, the court found that the parties intended to link the amount of rent to the total amount of property-related reimbursement and that a rent increase would be triggered by a reimbursement increase.

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