New owner of a Brooklyn loft building demanded that resident vacate his parking space. Andrew Ohanesian, an artist, is the tenant of loft Unit 709, located at 475 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn. Ohanesian signed a one-year lease with the building’s prior owner in February 2009 and has lived in the building ever since. The prior owner verbally agreed that Ohanesian could use a designated parking space in the loading bay area of the building for an additional $180 a month. Ohanesian included the $180 parking charge in his rent payment each month from February 2009 through February 2017. All the invoices he received from the prior owner reflected the charge for $180.
A new owner, 475 Kent Owner, LLC, acquired title to the building in February 2017, and on that date sent Ohanesian an invoice that included parking for $180. A month later, in March 2017, Kent Owner sent a letter to Ohanesian advising him that he was no longer permitted to park in the designated space. Ohanesian argued that he had been parking in the space since the beginning of his relationship with the prior owner and that he would not have rented Unit 709 without use of the parking space. Ohanesian filed an application with the Loft Board for a diminution of services pursuant to the Loft law.
OATH Administrative Law Judge Alessandra F. Zorgniotti ruled in favor of Ohanesian and his continued use of the parking space. Judge Zorgniotti found that even though a parking space is a non-essential service for a loft tenant, it cannot be taken away once agreed to. Ohanesian established by invoices that he had a mutual agreement with the prior owner and had paid $180 a month for the parking space beginning in February 2009. Judge Zorgniotti determined that Kent Owner’s denial of Ohanesian’s continued use of the designated parking space constituted a diminution of services and recommended that the owner provide the parking space to Ohanesian.
In re Ohanesian, OATH Index No. 359/18 (June 14, 2018).
By: Thomas Columbia (Thomas is a New York Law School Student, Class of 2019.)