240 W. 73rd St., LLC, 2012 NY Slip Op 50859 (U) (App. Term, 1st Dep't, May 15, 2012)
We represented the commercial tenant of 89 residential units in a 200-unit building on the Upper West Side. The tenant, in connection with its for-profit hotel business, sub-leased these apartments to other individuals for short-term stays. As per an agreement and understanding with the landlord, the tenant also occupied a portion of the building's lobby, which it used as a check-in location, and a closet, which it used as a luggage storage space.
When litigation ensued between the parties in connection with a related issue concerning the building and the parties' relationship soured, the landlord engaged in self-help and forcibly removed the lobby desk and changed the locks on the luggage closet. After landlord refused to restore the tenant to possession, we commenced an illegal lockout proceeding. At trial, a Civil Court judge concluded that the disputed lobby space was only a "mere convenience" to the tenant and not an area it was entitled to occupy under the lease. We quickly appealed and on May 15, 2012, the Appellate Term, First Department reversed the Civil Court decision, finding that the tenant had in fact been illegally ousted from the premises and ordering that the tenant be restored to possession of the disputed lobby spaces.