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Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Article Archive
Legal Issues
Published: Autumn 1994

Marc Luxemburg, president of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums, is an attorney specializing in cooperative and condominium law. In each issue of the CNYC Newsletter, Mr. Luxemburg reviews recent court cases. In addition, at the annual Cooperative Housing Conference he presents a workshop on significant legal decisions of the year.

CNYC frequently takes advocacy positions on key legal issues in briefs of amicus curiae. If your building is involved in a legal action that you think is significant to other buildings, please be sure to keep CNYC informed of the status of the case.


THE CONDOMINIUM UNIT OWNER:
SOMETIMES A TENANT, OTHER TIMES AN OWNER

The issue of whether a condominium unit owner is entitled to the protections of the law that are extended to rental tenants is subject to interpretation. The question of whether the New York City Pet Law applies to condominiums is apparently subject to different interpretations in different courts, as recent case law indicates.

The Administrative Code of the City of New York prohibits the eviction of a tenant in a multiple dwelling for violation of a "No Pet Rule" if the tenant has "openly harbored" the pet with the knowledge of the owner during a period of 90 days. This stated purpose of this portion of the status is to protect tenants from retaliatory evictions. The code allows the owner a three-month period to enforce a no pet policy, but protects the tenant thereafter unless the pet has become a nuisance.

However, in Board of Managers v. Lamontanero 1994 New York App. Div. Lexis 7121 (2nd Dept., July 5, 1994), the court found that the pet law applied to protect a unit owner of a condominium. so that the board of managers could not obtain an injunction to require the removal of a pet if the board knew of it for more than three months. The Second Department determined that the pet law applied to condominiums, because even though the statute was directed to landlords and tenants, condominiums were not specifically excluded. And, according to the court, condominium unit owners are equally in need of the protection of the statute.

In two previous cases in New York County, Horowitz v Reich, N.Y.L.J., 1/22/88, p.13, c.1 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.), and Board of Mangers of The Bay Club Condominium v. Rubenstein, N.Y.L.J., 2/8/93, p. 30, c.1, (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co.), the court found that there is no landlord/ tenant relationship with the owner of a condominium unit, and therefore the pet statute does not apply to such an owner.

Apparently, for purposes of the pet law, the owner of a condominium unit is an "owner" in New York County, but in Brooklyn, Queens, and Westchester Counties, the areas under the jurisdiction of the Second Department, the owner of a condo-minium unit is a "tenant."

 
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