Mins Court Housing Co., Inc. v. Wright, Bronx County L&T Index No. 013224/2013

In this residential holdover proceeding, the landlord alleged chronic delinquent rent payments and, on that basis, purported to terminate the tenant’s lease.  The Petition claimed that over a fifteen-year tenancy, the landlord brought twelve separate non-payment proceedings.  Nine of those proceedings, however,  were commenced more than six years prior to the landlord’s commencement of the holdover proceeding and, accordingly, the court ruled they could not be considered on statute of limitations grounds.  Two of the remaining three proceedings were eventually resolved in part by stipulation that required the landlord to make some repairs.

That left one prior non-payment proceeding in which the tenant had defaulted.  Justice Javier Vargas held the landlord “failed to allege enough frequency and number of prior proceedings” to form the predicate to a claim of chronic rent delinquency and granted the tenant’s motion to dismiss.

The lesson of Mins Court Housing is that landlords must establish a record of chronic delinquent rent payments based upon recent, frequent, and successfully resolved non-payment proceedings in order to lawfully terminate a residential tenant for chronic rent delinquencies.