Another Housing Court triumph: public housing tenant gets full abatement

Suddenly, there’s a lot of Housing Court news. Of course, since this case involves Sandy’s destruction of one woman’s apartment, it took quite a bit of time, i.e., two years, for this woman to get some justice.

But what has happened, as reported in the New York Law Journal, is unusual and very good:

A Brooklyn Housing Court judge awarded a 100 percent rent abatement to a public housing tenant whose apartment was rendered uninhabitable by Hurricane Sandy.

Cynthia Feliciano, 43, moved into Coney Island Houses with her three children in 2007. She had a recurring problem with soapy waste water backing up into her kitchen sink of her three-bedroom unit since moving in. After Hurricane Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2014, the problem worsened, with the overflow streaming out of the sink and causing mold that aggravated her son’s asthma.

Housing Court Judge Marcia Sikowitz (See Profile) granted Feliciano an abatement of 14 months rent in Housing Authority v. Feliciano, 011616/14, based on the New York City Housing Authority’s breach of implied warranty of habitability.

Noting that Feliciano had informed NYCHA of the problem and was available to allow repairs, Sikowitz awarded the $6,700 abatement and ordered that repairs be made within 10 days of the Dec. 12 ruling.

Sunny Noh, an attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group who represented Feliciano, said “partial abatements have been obtained in the past for Sandy-impacted tenants, but this is the first full abatement we know of.”

Here’s the full story: Full Abatement Awarded Tenant in Public Housing | New York Law Journal.

And note the pro bono group who stayed with their client throughout the case: the New York Legal Assistance Group. This group and others like it would seem to be excellent prototypes for the movement to get Housing Court plaintiffs or defendants free legal help.

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