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."