Norwood v. 587 Riverside Associates LLC Letter to PMG, 4705 Request for Lease Termination

Letter to PMG, 4/7/05: Request for Lease Termination

April 7, 2005

587 Riverside Associates, LLC

c/o Katten Munchin Zavis & Rosenman

Attn: Steven Friedman, Esq.

575 Madison Ave.

New York, NY, 10022

Dear Riverside Associates,

We have been constructively evicted and are forced to move out of apartment 1C at 587 Riverside Drive because of the landlord’s conduct. We will surrender our lease, effective May 15, 2005, and all mutual obligations under its terms. We expect a prompt return, before May 29, 2005, of our full security deposit. We also are entitled to recover a substantial amount of the back rent already paid. (We wish we had gotten a performance bond from the landlord, so that we could now recover easily and efficiently). We do expect to work out a satisfactory agreement with you in which we recover a substantial portion of full rent we paid even though the landlord was in breach of the warranty of habitability from the very outset of our tenancy. Please set up a meeting for us within the next two weeks at which you will be prepared to deliver the refund of ill-gotten rent and return the security deposit, payable by bank check. We will also exchange with you at that time general releases. Please call Matt Norwood at 347-645-7601 to set up the meeting and to work out an agreement on the amount of payment by way of rental refund.

In case you need to be reminded of the steps that have lead to this constructive eviction what follows is a brief description of some of the conditions we have been subjected to during the past five months. For your convenience we have also enclosed copies of our previous written communications with Property Markets Group. We have also maintained written and photographic evidence of the situation in our apartment.

The most serious problems in our apartment result from concealed leaks in the walls and ceilings. Huge seams have opened up in the walls and ceiling in our kitchen, bathrooms, and two of our bedrooms. Foul-smelling yellow liquid has poured forth from holes in our kitchen ceiling on several occasions, soaking all of our dishes and cooking utensils, and rendering our food unsafe for human consumption. The plaster on our ceiling and walls has come down in chunks and has rotted away as mold grows from the wet surfaces. On November 4, 2004, a four-inch mushroom grew from one of our bedroom ceilings. These conditions have provided an excellent habitat for bugs and mice in addition to the mold. A hole in another bedroom ceiling revealed soaking wet, damaged support beams which appear to hold up the front of the building. If these were to collapse, the lives and property of dozens of residents would be in danger. Finally, presumably because of the plumbing problems in the building, we have lost the use of our half-bathroom.

The company which manages this building, Property Markets Group, and the building supervisor have failed repeatedly to fulfill their legal obligations to repair our apartment. Despite numerous oral and written requests they have failed to fix the leaks in our walls or ceilings. Instead they have simply covered the leaks with shoddy patches, which inevitably soak through within days or weeks, once again exposing us to foul water, mold, and falling plaster.

In addition to these problems, on January 11, 2005 we lost electricity in our kitchen, two of our bedrooms, and our bathroom. Although we notified the building supervisor the next day, electricity was not restored until two weeks later and only after we had contacted Property Markets Group by letter and phone to inform them that we would withhold rent until they met their legal obligations to us. During the repairs it was discovered that the electrical wiring in our apartment is not done to code, and that electricity cannot be restored to part of one bedroom.

In the course of attempting to address the repeated problems with our apartment we have had occasion to discuss our situation with other clients in the building. These discussions have brought to our attention that numerous other apartments are afflicted with similar problems including concealed water leaks, falling plaster, vermin, and other serious violations of habitability. According to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, this building has over two dozen housing code violations so far this year alone. In situations in which a landlord refuses to make repairs, a court in New York can use article 7A proceedings to appoint a receiver to receive and administer the rent monies and make repairs.

We have been very patient and have tried to work with Property Markets Group and the building supervisor to secure repairs to our apartment. Our patience has been met with stonewalling, deceit, and the complete failure to return our apartment to a habitable condition. We look forward to reaching a mutually satisfactory arrangement with you.


The Tenants of 587 Riverside Drive Apartment 1C

Sven Sherman-Peterson, Ph.D.

Matthew Norwood

Ayodeji Oyewole

Kevin Whelan

Cc: Property Markets Group, 5 East 17th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10003

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