Wednesday, September 22, 2010
There is a short article in yesterday's New York Times that provides an interesting landlord/tenant issue for students to unravel.
Landlord leased an office suite in the Empire State Building to a mortgage broker. Mortgage broker (apparently contrary to the terms of the lease) sub-leased a portion of the space to a law firm. Law firm, through no written agreement, arranged for a solo practitioner to use "an alcove." The attorney had keys to the suite and a building-issued security ID.
Mortgage broker defaulted on the lease and landlord pursued eviction proceedings. Everyone but the solo practitioner left. It apparently took the landlord seven months to officially notice that the solo practitioner was still there.
So question #1 would be to try to characterize the legal status of the solo practitioner both before and after the eviction of the mortgage broker.
But the other interesting aspect of the article is that the lawyer didn't think he did anything wrong.
Mr. Perlman said he did not consider himself a squatter or law-breaker. Yet he had no sympathy for the building’s management, which he complained had been trying to push out small tenants to make way for larger tenants. The mortgage broker was one of several small tenants that sued the Empire State Building over their electricity bills. “I didn’t think of it as a scam,” Mr. Perlman said. “If I’m guilty of anything, I’m guilty of procrastinating.”
Perhaps I represented landlords for too long, but I find it striking that an attorney can think that he can take something of value (possession of space in the Empire State Building) for seven months without paying the owner a dime and then think that he has done nothing wrong.
[Comments will be held for approval and may be delayed]