Friday, January 06, 2017

80-Year Old NYC Tenant Sues Landlord For Allegedly Duping Her Into Vacating Her Rent-Controlled 2-Bedroom Upper West Side Apartment In Landmarked Building

In New York City, the New York Post reports:
  • An elderly Upper West Side woman says she can’t go home for the holidays because her landlord tricked her into vacating her apartment while her building is gut-renovated.

    May Asher is now suing the landlord in Manhattan Supreme Court, claiming its representatives duped her into signing an agreement to leave her rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment on the top floor of 101 W. 78th St.

    The landmarked building, across Columbus Avenue from the American Museum of Natural History, was sold in 2012, and the new owners are converting its 43 rental units to 24 condos and building a penthouse.

    The octogenarian says that in 2014, reps for the landlord, 101 West 78th LLC, visited her to say she would have to leave while the noisy and dusty construction work was under way. They also said they would have to seal up her apartment’s two fireplaces.

    The reps visited again in November 2015, handing Asher a document that she says she signed in the belief it was a receipt acknowledging she had received the papers.

    Instead, the document said she agreed to vacate her home while construction was under way and gave her just a month to move out.

    Days after she signed, the landlord cut off the heat, Asher says. She claims that caused her medical problems that landed her in a hospital. She eventually moved out.

    The new owners of 101 W. 78th St. have feuded with its tenants.

    A state attorney-general investigation in 2013 led to a settlement that granted 11 longtime building residents two years of free rent.

    And last year, Ocean Grill — a now-defunct restaurant that had been on the first floor — alleged in its own lawsuit against the landlord that the renovation project violated its lease, which ran to 2021. The popular restaurant shuttered in December 2015, and its suit blames the project for putting it out of business.

    Asher says the document she signed said she would have to vacate her apartment for nine months. But now she has been out more than a year.

    Asher’s only income is $700 in Social Security, says her suit, which seeks $300,000 in damages.

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