Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crossroads Apartments Associates v. LeBoo case brief

Crossroads Apartments Associates v. LeBoo case brief 152 Misc.2d 830

CASE SYNOPSIS: Petitioner landlord and respondent tenant moved for summary judgment in an eviction action. The tenant raised an affirmative defense that he was a handicapped person as defined by § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, codified at 29 U.S.C.S. § 794, and its regulations, 24 C.F.R. § 8.1 et seq., and as defined by 42 U.S.C.S. § 3602(h) of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and its implementary regulations. The tenant requested a jury trial.

FACTS: The landlord was an apartment complex subject to federally funded Section 8 housing assistance. The tenant, who received Section 8 assistance, had a written lease. He was mentally ill and claimed that he required the cat to cope with his disability. The landlord sought eviction because possession of the cat violated the lease terms. The court held (1) as a matter of law § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, codified at 29 U.S.C.S. § 794, applied to the tenant's claim and he had a right to plead a violation of the section as an affirmative defense, (2) the tenant's affirmative defense of estoppel was dismissed because New York law recognized and enforced "no pet clauses" even where the landlord chose to selectively enforce such clauses, (3) a genuine issue of fact existed as to whether the tenant had an emotional and psychological dependence on the cat that required him to keep the cat in his apartment, (4) whether the cat would cause an undue administrative burden and create health problems for other tenants was also a question of fact, and (5) the tenant's demand for a jury trial was stricken because he waived his right to a jury trial when he asserted only equitable defenses.

CONCLUSION: The court denied both parties' motions for summary judgment and struck the tenant's demand for a jury trial.

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