This is a summary holdover eviction proceeding premised on the claim that the premises are not subject to rent regulation and a two-attorney stipulation of settlement entered into between the Respondent and the prior building owner is not void as a matter of law.

Singh & Rani, LLP represented the Respondent, Pedro Gutierrez in this holdover proceeding and received a favorable decision from the Appellate Term, First Department for Mr. Gutierrez. Initially, the court ruled, in a decision by Judge Timmie Elsner, that when parties in a proceeding enter into a settlement or stipulation in which one party forgoes a legal right afforded to it under the law, a significant issue of fact exists and must be determined at trial [1].  Petitioner appealed and after oral arguments, the Appellate court ruled in the Respondent’s favor.

Singh & Rani LLP argued that although two-attorney stipulations that involves a party to relinquish their right under the Rent Regulation Laws are different than any other two-attorney stipulation, which would be enforceable under the law. Accordingly, a trial must be held to determine the circumstances of the two-attorney stipulation and Respondent’s relinquishing his succession rights to the apartment.

The Appellate Court in its decision found that, “This holdover proceeding is not susceptible to summary disposition. The limited record now before us raises, but does not resolve, several material triable issues, including the rent regulatory status of the subject apartment, an issue which turns on whether the parties engaged in a scheme to evade the rent laws when they stipulated in a prior proceeding that respondent, the sole occupant following the death of the rent controlled tenant, would temporarily vacate the premises so that apartment renovations could be performed; further stipulated that respondent would not to contest the legal rent or the regulatory status of the premises; and then executed, a mere five days later, a lease which deregulated the apartment and set the monthly rent at $3,025 (see Jazilek v Abart Holdings LLC, 10 NY3d 943 [2008]; Riverside Syndicate, Inc. v Munroe, 10 NY3d 18 [2008]).”

Update: Subsequent to receiving this decision, Petitioner filed a motion to renew and reargue with Appellate Term, First Department, which was denied.

Petitioner then again, filed a new motion for a leave to appeal to the Appellate Decision, First Department, which was also denied.

The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws in the context of the validity of stipulation and settlement agreements are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning a stipulation of settlement, or otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, SINGH & RANI, LLP can assist you.

[1] See generally- 500 Cathedral Parkway LLC v Pedro Gutierrez (Civ. Ct. NY, Cty. of NY 2018).

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Bikram Singh

Mr. Singh has been practicing law in the New York State and Federal Courts for almost 10 years. He was a principal attorney at Bikram Singh Law, P.C., after graduating with honors from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2008.