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Scott E. Mollen

Landlord-Tenant—Fraud—Tenant Obtained Low Income Apartment by Understating Income by a Factor of Eight

A landlord commenced a holdover proceeding, alleging that the tenant had committed fraud in reporting his income and household composition. The tenant denied the allegations and moved for leave to obtain discovery. The landlord cross-moved for summary judgment.

The apartment was subject to the Rent Stabilization Law and regulations relating to “tax credits that require tenants to report their incomes and household compositions, including tax credits pursuant to 26 U.S.C. §42 and RPTL §421-a.” When the tenant moved into the apartment in May 2012, the tenant represented that his income fell below the level necessary to obtain the apartment. The tenant’s lease warned that “misrepresenting income or household composition is a ground for termination.” The tenant did not dispute the sworn income statement nor his income tax return for the year 2012, which showed that his income in 2012 was more than eight times greater than the income that he had listed when seeking the apartment.

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