Click here to see Judicial Profile
Read the Full-Text Opinion
CLAIMANT TENANT sought damages arising from a bedbug infestation in the subject cooperative, suing defendant landlord. Defendant informed claimant there was nothing defendant could do about the infestation. Claimant testified she discard personal property totalling nearly $4000 due to damage and personally hired an exterminator. Defendant claimed shareholders of the Mitchell-lama units were responsible for remedying bedbug infestations, relying on a letter from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development regarding same. However, the court ruled that HPD’s letter opining that each shareholder was responsible for extermination did not provide the cooperative corporation with a safe harbor. It noted that Multiple Dwelling Law §78(1) imposed a non-delegable duty upon the cooperative to maintain the building in good repair. Thus, the court found the cooperative breached its duty of care as defendant was on notice of the infestation and took no steps to remedy the condition. Hence, it awarded claimant $3899.36 for loss of her personal property.