Judge Brenda S. Spears

Landlord sued for non-payment claiming tenant Lin owed rent, indicating the monthly rent was $1,240.77. Tenant’s counsel advised landlord’s counsel that upon review of relevant documents, landlord was charging tenant the incorrect amount, based on a two year lease renewal, rather than one year. After a failure to settle the matter, and tenant’s summary judgment motion was denied, as the court found issues of fact, a trial verdict concluded landlord charged tenant an illegal rental amount, awarding tenant a rent credit. Tenant moved for legal fees incurred in defending the non-payment proceeding claiming entitlement under Real Property Law §234. Landlord challenged the claims arguing tenant proceeded in a dilatory fashion, alleging much of the legal work was necessary. The court concluded tenant was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and expenses where the lease provided for same for landlord. It found tenant made every attempt to settle the matter before trial, to no avail, ruling tenant prevailed at trial, thus was entitled to attorneys’ fees. The court found the billing sheets did not contain duplicate charges or charges for redundant work, awarding tenant $26,950 in legal fees and costs incurred defending this proceeding.