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“The present bill restores the law substantially as it was previously, except that it now provides that an agreement which does not particularly specify the duration of occupation shall be deemed to continued until the first day of October next after the possession commences.
“This will work no hardship to the landlord, because it applies only where no time is specified. If a time is specified, whether it be a month or a year, such an agreement is good, and the landlord may always protect himself by having this put in writing.
“The landlords generally are better able to do this because they have the experience and the facilities for preparing such agreements. The poor tenant, on the other hand, generally had no knowledge of the necessity for any writing, and if he did, was unable to prepare it. If he asked for a writing he was easily persuaded that it was not necessary, and that the word of his landlord could be relied upon."
CHAPTER 131 AS AMENDED BY CHAPTER 951, LAWS
Section 1. Section two thousand and forty of the penal law is hereby amended to read as follows:
$ 2040. Wilful violation of the terms of a lease. Any lessor, agent, manager, superintendent or janitor of any building, or part thereof, the lease or rental agreement whereof by its terms, expressed or implied, requires the furnishing or hot or cold water, heat, light power, elevator service, telephone or any other service or facility to any occupant of said building, who wilfully or intentionally fails to furnish such water, heat, light, power, elevator service, telephone service or other service or facility at any time when the same are necessary to the proper or customary use of such building, or part
25 In effect Sept. 27, 1920. This section of the penal law was added by Chapter 131 of the Laws of 1920, in effect April 1, 1920. Matter in italics shows the amendments made by Chapter 951,
thereof, or any lessor, agent, manager, superintendent or janitor who wilfully and intentionally interferes with the quiet enjoyment of the leased premises by such occupant, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
COMMITTEE'S EXPLANATION OF CHAPTER 131
“It has become quite a common practice with landlords who desire to get rid of tenants in order that they might lease apartments at higher rents to harass and annoy them so that they would move. They would cut off heat or light or telephone service; sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once, notwithstanding the requirements of the hiring to furnish facilities.
“The proposed bill is intended to put an end to this practice, and makes it a misdemeanor for a landlord to fail to furnish water, heat, light, power, elevator or telephone service, where they are necessary to the proper and customary use of the building, or to interfere with the quiet enjoyment of the leased premises."
COMMITTEE'S EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS IN CHAPTER 951
"The bill passed at the last session made it a misdemeanor for a lessor to fail to furnish water, heat, light, power, elevator service and telephone service. In some cases where there was a wilful failure to render these services the lessor claimed that the responsibility was on his agent or employee for whose offense he could not be held liable. This bill makes the agent, manager, superintendent or janitor who wilfully fails to furnish these services also liable. One court held that the language of the statute said that water must be furnished and that this did not necessarily mean hot water.
The present bill calls for hot or cold water if required."
CHAPTER 132, LAWS OF 1920 26 Section 1. Section twenty-two hundred and forty-four of the code of civil procedure 27 is hereby amended to read as follows:
§ 2244. Answer. At the time when the precept is returnable without waiting as prescribed in an action before a justice of the peace, or in a district court in the city of New York, the person to whom it is directed or his landlord, or any person in possession or claiming posession of premises, or a part thereof, may answer, orally or in writing, denying generally the allegations, or specifically any material allegation of the petition, or setting forth a statement of any new matter constituting a legal or equitable defense, or counterclaim. Such defense or counterclaim may be set up and established in like manner as though the claim for rent in such proceeding was the subject of an action. If the court finds that a defense or counterclaim has been established in whole or in part, it shall, upon rendering a final order, determine the amount of rent due to the petitioner or make such other proper disposition as shall determine the rights of the parties, and may give affirmative judgment for the amount found to be due on the counterclaim. If such answer be oral the substance thereof shall be endorsed upon the petition.
COMMITTEE'S EXPLANATION “This is an amendment to Section 2244 of the Code of Civil Procedure which allows a tenant to set up a counterclaim, or a legal or equitable defense, but it gives no power to the court to make a final order or give judgment. The court may only determine that the defense or counterclaim is good. When so determined the finding is res adjudicata but a separate action must be brought as a matter of form to secure judgment. This amendment will avoid multiplicity of action, and enable the court to give affirmative relief where the defense or counterclaim is established."
20 In effect April 1, 1920. 29 After October 1, 1921, this section is replaced by section 1425 of the Civil Practice Act (Laws of 1921, Chap. 199, § 15), printed in Appendix C, identical in form,
CHAPTER 133, LAWS OF 1920 29
Section 1. Section twenty-two hundred and thirty-one of the code of civil procedure 30 is hereby amended by adding thereto a new subdivision to be subdivision six, to read as follows:
6. A proceeding seeking to recover possession of real property by reason of the termination of the term fired in the lease pursuant to a provision contained therein giving the landlord the right to terminate the time fixed for occupancy under such agreement, if he deem the tenant objectionable, shall not be maintainable unless the landlord shall by competent evidence establish to the satisfaction of the court that the tenant is objectionable.
“This bill provides that where it is sought to dispossess a tenant pursuant to a clause in the lease giving the landlord the right to terminate the lease if he deems the tenant objectionable, the landlord must prove to the satisfaction of the court that the tenant is objectionable. Heretofore it has been held that it was sufficient for the landlord to allege that the tenant was objectionable, and the court must grant the order of dispossess. This was slightly modified by the decision in Waitt Construction Company, against Lorraine where the court said that it was sufficient if the landlord proved that he, in good faith, deemed the tenant objectionable. This enabled the landlord to get rid of any tenant when he had an opportunity to get higher rent from a new one.
"The proposed bill will remedy such a proceeding, and wiil compel the landlord to show that the tenant is objectionable as a matter of fact."
29 In effect April 1, 1920.
30 After October 1, 1921, this section is replaced by section 1410 of the Civil Practice Act (Laws 1921, Chap. 199, § 15, printed in Appendix C), identical in form.
CHAPTER 134, LAWS OF 1920 81 Section 1. Subdivision one of section twenty-two hundred and fifty-four of the code of civil procedure 32 is hereby amended to read as follows:
1. Where the final order establishes that a lessee or tenant holds over, after a default in the payment of rent or of taxes or assessments, he may effect a stay, by (payment] depositing the amount of the rent due, or of such taxes or assessments, and interest and penalty, if any thereon due, and the cost of the special proceeding, with the clerk of the court, or where the office of clerk is not provided for, with the judge or justice who shall thereupon, upon demand, pay the amount deposited to the petitioner or his duly authorized agent; or by delivering to the judge or justice, or the clerk of the court, his undertaking to the petitioner, in such sum and with such sureties as the judge or justice approves, to the effect that he will pay the rent, or such taxes or assessments, and interest and penalty and costs, within ten days, at the expiration of which time a warrant may issue, unless he produces to the judge or justice satisfactory evidence of the payment.
“The purpose of this bill is to simplify the procedure where a temporary stay has been granted after the entry of the final order in case of non-payment of rent, interest, taxes and assessments. As it now stands the law says the stay may be effected by payment of the amount due, but does not say to whom the payment shall be made.
“Very often the landlord, desiring to defeat the stay, has refused to accept the payment, and when it was offered to the clerk of the court he has refused it on the ground that there was no au$1 In effect April 1, 1920.
32 After October 1, 1921, this section is replaced by section 1435 of the Civil Practice Act (Laws of 1921, Chap. 199, $15, printed in Appendix C), identical in form.