Monthly Archives: September 2019

Work Contemplated by Lease: Not an Actual or Constructive Eviction

This was originally published on the SGR blog.

Fieldstone Capital (landlord) filled a summary (non-payment) proceeding against Ryan & Conlon (tenant). And Ryan & Conlon asserted that it did not owe rent because the firm had been partially evicted, actually or constructively, from its 7th floor office as a result of common area renovation work done by Fieldstone.

Paragraph 4 of the governing commercial lease agreement authorized Fieldstone to make “repairs, alterations, additions or improvements” in or to any portion of the building or demised premises, with “no allowance to Tenant for diminution of rental value and no liability on the part of Owner by reason of inconvenience, annoyance or injury to business” arising from these acts. The provision also provided that Ryan & Conlon was not entitled to “any set off or reduction of rent” due to landlord’s failure to comply with any covenant of the lease, and that tenant’s “sole remedy” at law was an action for breach of contract.

Continue reading

It’s A Dog’s Life

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Westchester Plaza Holdings, LLC filed a summary holdover proceeding to evict Gertrude Sherwood and her son, Sheldon Sherwood, on the ground that they had failed to cure their violation of the no-pet clause in the parties’ lease. Specifically, Westchester Plaza claimed that  the Sherwoods had violated their lease by harboring a dog without landlord’s permission. and sought a final judgment of possession of their rental apartment. Gertrude did not appear in the action. Sheldon appeared and asserted that the dog was an emotional support animal entitling him to keep  the pet in the apartment under the State’s Human Rights Law.

A non-jury trial was held before the Court. Westchester Plaza called Jana Schmidt, its in-house counsel, who testified that she was informed sometime in late February or March of  2019 that the Sherwoods were harboring a dog in the apartment in contravention of the parties’ lease. Schmidt further testified that, after being informed of the dog in the apartment, she directed her staff to investigate. She also testified that she was informed by her staff that visual observation and video confirmed that a dog was being harbored in the apartment by the Sherwoods. Schmidt further testified that neither  of them asked for permission to have a dog in their apartment.

Continue reading

Build It And They Will [Sue]

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Virginia F. Kleist and Daniel Stern owned own lakefront properties within the Chautauqua Shores subdivision. All property owners were subject to covenants and restrictions that were filed in 1962, when the subdivision was developed. The covenants and restrictions give “each and every owner of land in [the subdivision] . . . the right to enforce the same by appropriate court proceedings.”

In December 2014, Stern purchased his property with plans to demolish the existing house and build a much larger house. When Kleist saw the site plans for the new house, she notified Stern by letter in early August 2015 that the site plan showed that the home he was about to construct was in violation of paragraph five of the covenants and restrictions, which required a 100-foot setback from the lake line for any building. That same month, Kleist filed suit to enjoin Stern from violating that covenant and restriction and to require him to remove any buildings that were in violation. By her amended complaint, Kleist alleged that the house would also violate the second and fourth paragraphs of the covenants and restrictions.

Continue reading