Judge Jose Rodriguez

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Landlord, after service of a written rent demand, commenced this nonpayment proceeding alleging Lee owed $875.60 for each month from Nov. 2016 through Feb. 2017. Lee moved for dismissal arguing the rent demand was defective claiming payment was made for the alleged months with checks earmarked to be applied to those months submitting copies of cancelled checks with notations of payments meant for the specific months. Landlord did not dispute that Lee made payments with earmarked checks, but argued its accounting principles were to post payments to the oldest outstanding rents. The court noted the rent demand served herein failed to correctly itemize the periods for which Lee failed to pay rent. It stated RPAPL §711(2) required a rent demand be made before commencing a proceeding for nonpayment of rent, and proof of a rent demand was a jurisdictional prerequisite to same. The demand must be clear, unequivocal and provide tenant with actual notice of the alleged amount due and be an approximate good faith sum due. The court concluded the notice was defective and could not act as a predicate to the nonpayment proceeding. Therefore, it granted Lee’s motion, and dismissed the proceeding.