Eviction Notice Ruled Deficient

2013 Amsterdam Avenue. Image Credit: Google Maps

Landlord of 2013 Amsterdam Avenue served a notice of termination on disabled tenant, after the tenant engaged in a series of housing code violations. After a series of incidents, including causing instances of flooding and refusing to allow the landlord access to effect repairs, 2013 Amsterdam Avenue Housing Association served the notice of termination on its tenant Darren King. King is a paraplegic, wheelchair-bound, double-amputee.

The notice alleged that King breached the Section 8 of lease agreement and stated that a tenant may request to meet the landlord to discuss the proposed termination of tenancy, and that the landlord may agree to discuss this matter with the tenant. (emphasis added).

King refused to move out and challenged the sufficiency of the notice. In December 2017, Civil Court Judge Laurie L. Lau held that the termination notice was appropriate, awarded possession to the landlord and ordered King to leave the premises.

King appealed.  The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Term, First Department reversed and directed the final judgement in King’s favor. Judge Doris Ling-Cohan held that the notice of termination was insufficient to serve as a predicate for the eviction proceeding and that the notice violated both sections of the lease agreement as well as the HUD handbook regarding notices of termination.

Judge Ling-Cohan held that Amsterdam’s notice of termination failed to take into account King’s disabilities. Section 8-13 of the lease agreement specified that “persons with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations to participate in the hearing process.” Furthermore, paragraph 17 (b) of the HUD handbook specified that if a tenant requested a meeting to discuss the proposed termination, the landlord must agree to meet with the tenant. The notice served by the landlord incorrectly informed King that landlord “may” meet with him to discuss the proposed termination when, in fact, the landlord was required to participate in any requested pre-termination meeting. The notice, lastly, failed to inform the severely disabled tenant that he could request a reasonable accommodation.

(CIT) 2013 Amsterdam Ave. Hous. Ass’n, L.P. v. King, 2019 NY Slip Op 29074, 63 Misc. 3d 36, 98 N.Y.S.3d 775 (App. Term)

By: Filip Cukovic (Filip is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School Student, Class of 2021.)


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