Judge John Lansden

Read Full-Text Decision

Tenant Conty asserted there were six units in the premises, owned by Rivas, when she first moved in, thus, she was a rent stabilized tenant not subject to a month-to-month holdover proceeding. Rivas claimed there were and have always been five units in the building. The court noted each side presented only one witness, each with a vested interest in the proceeding’s outcome. It stated while neither witness’ testimony was especially compelling, the Department of Building violation—setting forth that there were 10 units in the premises at the time of inspection—from 2006 was compelling. The court found such DOB violation contradicted Rivas’ claim there were only ever five units in the building since he purchased it. It stated once a building contained six or more units all the units became rent stabilized regardless when the sixth unit was created, or even if landlord did not create the extra unit. The court also noted a landlord’s knowledge of the extra unit was unnecessary for the building to be subject to rent stabilization, but found landlord here was aware of the sixth unit and did nothing to correct the issue for many years. Thus, it ruled Conty was a rent stabilized tenant as a 30-day holdover would not stand against such tenant, dismissing the proceeding.