Court Grants Partial Relief to New York Residential Landlord

On December 3, 2014 the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, decided the case entitled, “184-188 Claremont Investors, LLC v. Knowles,” 2014 WL 6848016 (N.Y.Sup. Slip Op. 33126(U).

Plaintiff, the owner of a residential apartment on Claremont Avenue, brought an action to enjoin the defendant from allegedly subletting the apartment to students of Columbia University and to recover use and occupancy for unpaid rent.

The Court recited the legal standard as follows: The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until a decision is reached on the merits. To obtain a preliminary injunction pursuant to CPLR 6301, plaintiff must demonstrate a probability of success on the merits, an irreparable injury in the absence of an injunction, and a balance of equities in his favor. The decision of whether to issue a preliminary injunction rests in the trial court’s sound discretion.

In this case, the Court found that Plaintiff had failed to meet the requirements for a preliminary injunction because Defendant had a clear and unequivocal right to have roommates pursuant to RPL § 235-f, and to sublet her apartment pursuant to RPL § 226-b.

However, given the large dollar amount of alleged past due rent, notwithstanding a appeal pending with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal with respect to the rent amount, the Court decided to exercise its discretion and direct the rent payments for use and occupancy, pendent lite, in order to maintain the status quo.

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