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had entered into a similar stipulation to surrender possession not later than April 30, 1921, the landlord contended that the tenant had thereby in effect contracted to waive the benefit of the emergency laws. The court held that even
assuming that such a waiver is not against public policy, it cannot confer any power upon the court which does not exist. Chapter 942 curtails the jurisdiction of the court and deprives it of the power to issue warrants in dispossess proceedings, except as therein stated. An agreement between the parties cannot extend the powers of the court. It is the statute which grants or withholds from the court the right to issue warrants, and not the consent of the parties.” 50
It would seem that in such cases, where the tenant has actually given notice of his intention to quit the premises, but fails to do so, there is nothing to prevent the landlord's invoking the following provision of the New York Real Property Law: 51
“Liability of tenant holding over after giving notice of intention to quit. If a tenant gives notice of his intention to quit the premises held by him, and does not accordingly deliver up the possession thereof, at the time specified in such notice, he or his personal representatives must, so long as he continues in possession, pay to the landlord, his heirs or assigns, double the rent which he should otherwise have paid, to be recovered at the same time, and in the same manner, as the single rent."
Where the warrant of dispossess was actually issued, however, in January, 1920, and its execution then stayed pending an appeal by the tenant, it has been held that the proceeding is no longer "pending,” and that the emergency laws subsequently passed are not applicable. The issuance of the warrant terminates the relationship of landlord and tenant.52 Even the reversal of the final order upon which such a warrant was issued does not restore the relationship, without a special order of restitution. And it should be remembered that prior to the enactment of the emergency rent laws, the right to stay the execution of a dispossess warrant, even pending appeal, was very strictly limited by statute. 54
50 Bailey v. Brennan (Mun. Ct., Fifth Dist., Spiegelberg, J.), decided June 1, 1921, citing People ex rel. Ballin v. O'Connell, 194 App. Div. 540, aff'd 230 N. Y. 655.
51 Section 229.
There has been one case in which the court held that a proceeding was "pending" not merely till the issuance of the warrant, but until its actual execution.55 This appears to be an isolated case, unsustained by other authority.
THE FOUR CLASSES OF EXCEPTIONS
We come now to the four classes of exceptions, in addition to new buildings, in which summary dispossess proceedings may be maintained and warrants issued against "holdovers.” These are all defined by statute, but the precise meaning of the statute has in each case been the subject of dispute and litigation.
1. OBJECTIONABLE TENANTS
The first of these exceptions is in the case of an objectionable tenant. The statute provides that a summary pro
62 Kalvin u. Sturges, 196 App. Div. 466, 188 N. Y. Supp. 76.
64 Code of Civil Procedure, 8 2265; Kaminsky v. Klasko Corp., 191 App. Div. 412, 181 N. Y. Supp. 563.
55 People ex rel. Stradella v. Wagner (Supreme Court, Queens County), N. Y. J. L., May 3, 1921, page 432.
ceeding to recover possession of real property may be maintained against a tenant holding over after the expiration of his term where such proceeding is brought
"to recover such possession upon the ground that the person is holding over and is objectionable, in which case the landlord shall establish to the satisfaction of the court, that the person holding over is objectionable.'
A comparison of this provision of the so-called "temporary” emergency laws with the so-called "permanent” law dealing with objectionable tenants, may here be made. The "permanent" law,57 which will survive, unless amended, after the "temporary” law expires on November 1, 1922, provides as follows:
“A proceeding seeking to recover possession of real property by reason of the termination of the term fixed 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."
It should be noted that neither the “temporary" nor the "permanent” law gives the landlord the right to dispossess an objectionable tenant as such, so long as his lease continues in force. The “temporary” law provides that a tenant whose lease has expired and who is holding over without a lease, cannot claim the benefit of the emergency legislation preventing dispossession, if the landlord estab
Chapter 942, Laws of 1920; Code of Civil Procedure, $2231, subd. 1-2 Civil Practice Act, $ 1410, subd. 1-4.
69 Chapter 133, Laws of 1920; Code of Civil Procedure, 8 2231, subd. 6; Civil Practice Act, $ 1410, subd. 6.
lishes to the satisfaction of the court" that he is objectionable. The “permanent” law is aimed at leases containing a so-called "conditional limitation”: that is, a provision that although the lease is to run, say, two years, the landlord may end it any time before then “if he deems the tenant objectionable." Such provisions in leases are quite general, and where the tenant is truly objectionable, they furnish the landlord with an entirely proper remedy, for they enable him in such a case to terminate the lease prior to its specified expiration date. He may thereupon immediately proceed to dispossess the tenant in the usual way as a “holdover." Otherwise, despite the tenant's objectionableness, he could not be put out until the time fixed in his lease had actually expired. The so-called “permanent" law permits the landlord to take advantage of such a clause in a lease, but only where he can by competent evidence satisfy the court that the tenant is in fact objectionable.
The Century Dictionary gives the following meaning for the adjective "objectionable":
“Capable of being objected to; justly liable to objection; calling for disapproval.”
Webster's New International Dictionary says the word means: “Liable to objection; offensive.”
What makes a tenant "objectionable" is, obviously, largely a question of fact, and no comprehensive definition can be given. The most that may be done is to bear in mind what the dictionaries say, and to use as a guide the opinions of courts in cases involving these statutes. It should be remembered, too, that the decision in each such case is necessarily largely based upon the peculiar facts thereof. Each new case presents a different situation. A few guiding principles may be derived, however, from the reported cases.
We have already considered one such case, 68 where a tenant who used a residential apartment for her dressmaking business contrary to the landlord's will was held “objectionable," and her lease having expired, was dispossessed. In another case, the landlord proved that the tenant was noisy “all the time,” intoxicated "generally” when he came home, combative in his progress up the hall of the apartment house, profane “on numerous occasions," “drunk" on election night that he accused the janitress of causing his vote to be challenged, seized her by both wrists, and struck her daughter, and had finally to be carried upstairs; outside of which, “his conduct was annoying to the other tenants.” The lower court refused to dispossess the tenant, but the higher tribunal reversed, holding him objectionable within the purview of the statute. 59
A different type of case was one in which an eight-room apartment was occupied by the tenant's daughter, occasionally by the tenant, and by as many as ten roomers, every room except the bathroom and kitchen being utilized for sleeping purposes. The judge found the tenant and her daughter to be “both of them highly respectable women.” Many instances of "improper behavior" on the part of the roomers were given, however, and the court held that if she knew of these, the tenant was directly chargeable, and if not, she was "culpable in not taking proper care in the selection of those who shared the apartment with her.”' Accordingly, she was held objectionable and a warrant directed to be issued.60
68 Hermitage Co. v. Preziose, 188 N. Y. Supp. 434 (App. Term, Supreme Ct., 1st Dept.). See supra, page 65.
59 Hilliard v. Dorrite (App. Term, 1st Dept.), 188 N. Y. Supp. 432. 80 McGowan v. Stevens (Mun. Ct., 5th Dist., Spiegelberg, J., December 2, 1920), not reported. See also Kline v. Kleeman (App. Term, 1st Dept.), 185 N. Y. Supp. 113.