FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 1999
BROOKLYN COURT UPHOLDS LEGAL OBLIGATION OF MANAGING AGENT THANKS TO HPD'S HOUSING LITIGATION BUREAU
In a precedent setting victory for HPD's Housing Litigation Bureau (HLB) in its mission to enforce the City's building code, a recent court decision holds managing agents responsible for correcting court-ordered violations. Managing agent Erica Moore will have to correct all housing violations at 236 Eighth Street in Brooklyn, including providing tenants with heat and hot water this winter season.
"HPD's Housing Litigation Bureau continues to aggressively seek action against landlords who constantly fail to correct heat and hot water violations," said HPD Commissioner Richard T. Roberts. "In this case, there were 215 violations in eight apartments. HLB will monitor Moore's compliance with the order through follow-up inspections".
HLB has taken Moore to court multiple times. Last year, Moore had appeared in Housing Court as an agent of Monroy P. Simon, the deed owner of 236 Eighth Street. She had consented to provide essential services and to pay $500 in settlement of HPD's civil penalties claim against her and the deed owner. Nevertheless, Moore failed to comply with the payment terms. HPD then obtained a $7,500 default judgment and proceeded to enforce the judgment by restraining Moore's bank account.
In response to the litigation, Moore made a motion to vacate the default judgment and lost. In December, Moore made a second motion asserting that although she was an agent of the owner, she had no true ownership or management interest in the subject premises. HLB countered that Moore was an "owner" within the broad statutory definition of that term contained in the Multiple Dwelling Law and Housing Maintenance Code because she visited the property several times per week as an employee of the owner's managing agent.
The Court denied Moore's motion to reargue and upheld the authority of a court ordered consent entered into by Erica Moore to settle HPD's civil penalties.
HPD's Housing Litigation Bureau prosecutes housing code compliance on behalf of the City of New York. HLB's case load includes comprehensive building violation cases, heat and hot water cases, and 7A Proceedings. HLB appears in all actions commenced by tenants against their landlord. In addition, HPD provides technical assistance on violation removal, including free seminars to assist owners in providing heat and hot water to their tenants. If you would like more information about upcoming seminars, please call (212) 863-8830.