Disabled Tenant Wins Eviction Stay

529 West 29th Street. Image Credit: CityLaw

Landlord sought to evict disabled man who had set two fires in his apartment. Jose Reyes, who received social security disability benefits related to his mental illness, lived in a Section 8 housing building owned by 529 West 29th LLC. Reyes set two fires in the building within a period of three months. Reyes set the first fire in his bathtub where he had placed documents and personal papers because he was experiencing extreme anxiety about a possible identity theft. The second fire happened when Reyes was not at home; Reyes left flammable materials next to or on a lit gas stove.

529 West 29th LLC sued to evict Reyes, claiming nuisance. After trial, Judge Jean Schneider ruled in favor of 529 West 29th LLC, but issued a stay of the eviction for six month as a reasonable accommodation of Reyes’ disability and to afford Reyes the opportunity to show that he had cured the nuisance. 529 West 29th LLC appealed the stay of eviction.

The Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s decision to allow Reyes to stay for six months before eviction. The Appellate Court relied on trial testimony by Reyes and his doctor that Reyes’ condition had improved by the treatment he had received following the two fires. Reyes’ continued probationary stay in the building acceptably minimized the risk he posed to other residents.

529 West 29th LLC. v. Reyes, 100 N.Y.S.3d 475 (Supp. App. 2019).


By: Vestina Sinkeviciute (Vestina is a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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