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HRA Clients Get Rent Protection

25 West 24th Street. Image credit: CityLaw

Landlord attempted to evict three HRA clients residing in single-room-occupancy facility. In 2013 the owners of a single-room-occupancy facility at 25 West 24th Street, Manhattan, entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Human Resources Administration to set aside 30 units for clients referred by the agency. The referrals would register their attendance automatically by swiping their HRA benefits card at the facility. The landlord submitted monthly bills to HRA, and could also collect additional money from referrals if their income exceeded $359 per month. Under the agreement, the landlord could not evict or remove a tenant without the approval of HRA, but if the tenant became a permanent resident under the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Code, having resided continuously at the facility for 30 days or longer, the tenant could only be removed by a warrant of eviction or other court order.

The landlord commenced holdover proceedings against three tenants who had been referred by HRA under the terms of the memorandum. The tenants had each resided at the facility in their respective units for over six months.

The New York County Civil Court refused to evict the tenants. The landlord appealed.

The Appellate Term First Department upheld the Civil Court. The residents conclusively established that they were not “licensees,” but permanent residents. Each tenant had continuously resided in their respective units for six months or more, and thereby qualified as permanent residents under the Rent Stabilization Code. The agreement with HRA had clearly accounted for the possibility of the referred clients becoming permanent tenants. The court also rejected claims that the building was not subject to rent stabilization because its occupants were transient.

25 West 24th Street Realty Corp. v. Gianquinto, 49 N.Y.S.3d 809 (Sup.Ct.App.Term 1st Dep’t 2017) (Attorneys: David B. Rosenbaum, for Realty Corp; Aaron Kratzat, for Gianquinto).