Interesting Legal Case of Renter vs Landlord

manhattan apartment rental, rent in manhattanBy Jay Romano in the NY Times online.

Q My daughter has a lease on a first-floor apartment in Brooklyn that gives her exclusive use of the backyard as part of the rental space. Recently, the landlord installed a second door to the backyard from an adjacent apartment, effectively giving both my daughter and the other tenant use of the area. When she asked the landlord for a reduction in rent because the backyard was no longer her private domain, the landlord refused. What can she do?

A “The landlord appears to have committed a grave error,” said Thomas P. Higgins, a Manhattan landlord-tenant lawyer. Since the lease defines the tenant’s space as including the backyard, Mr. Higgins said, the landlord has no right to let others use it. “A lease gives a tenant the exclusive right to use and possession of specified property for a particular term,” he said. When a landlord permits others to use part of the tenant’s space without permission, that constitutes an unlawful eviction of the tenant. “A landlord who unlawfully evicts a tenant, even from a portion of the premises, faces significant liability,” Mr. Higgins said, itemizing these possibilities: “a discharge of the tenant’s duty to pay rent, monetary damages that can be tripled at the court’s discretion, and payment of the tenant’s attorneys’ fees.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Written by Lorenzo

Lorenzo has been hanging around the office for the past 20 years, and, in the process, has become the president of,, and His mission is to build into New York's largest no fee apartment rental service. Before, Lorenzo was a Regional Sales Manager for Time Equities, Inc., one of New York's largest converters of rental buildings to coops and condos. Lorenzo was once a part owner of Swift & Watson Real Estate in NYC's Greenwich Village.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *