Sidney Williams and another, pro se, and Tenenbaum Dunbar Saltiel & Berger, L. L. P., Brooklyn, for Sidney Williams and another, respondents.
Yullie Holder, pro se, and Thomas & Wareham, L. L. P., Brooklyn, for petitioner.
Gary F. Marton, J.
Respondents have moved to vacate two stipulations of settlement,
the judgment, and the warrant herein.T hey seek as well to reinstate the landlord-tenant relationship and to dismiss this proceeding. Respondents seek this relief on the ground, recently asserted, that the premises is an unregistered multiple dwelling. For the reasons set out below, the motion is denied.
Background and Procedural Posture
Petitioner owns the premises, a two-family dwelling with a basement, and lives in the second floor apartment. Respondents rented the first floor apartment on or about December 1, 1998. Four months later they stopped paying the $850 monthly rent. Petitioner, acting pro se, began this nonpayment proceeding in July 1999 to recover possession of the premises. Respondents, also acting pro se, interposed an answer raising two defenses, to wit, that there were conditions in the apartment that needed to be repaired and that the rent had been partially paid. By a stipulation " so ordered" on August 10, 1999, respondents agreed to pay $2,900 in arrears and petitioner agreed to repair a valve on the bathtub and to ensure that the refrigerator stayed cold.
Respondents defaulted on the agreement and petitioner moved to enter judgment. On the November 29, 1999 return date, the motion was granted on default and a judgment for $2,900 was entered. A warrant issued on June 30, 2000.
By order to show cause sought on July 21, 2000 respondents moved to vacate the judgment and to stay execution of the warrant. In the supporting affidavit, respondents asserted that they had paid $1,200 on July 1, 2000 and that they would pay all arrears by August 15, 2000. By a stipulation " so ordered" on the August 3, 2000 return date, respondents agreed to discharge all rent arrears, then totaling $4,950, pursuant to a schedule ending on September 8, 2000. Respondents also agreed to vacate the premises if they could not pay by the deadline.
Respondents defaulted on this agreement. By order to show cause sought on August 29, 2000 respondents moved to vacate the judgment and to stay execution of the warrant. They sought this relief on the ground that they would pay $2,000 to petitioner immediately and that they would pay another $550 by September 1, 2000. By ex parte order obtained by petitioner on August 30, 2000, the order to show cause was vacated. In the supporting affidavit, petitioner averred that she had gone to the drawer's bank to cash the $2,000 check and was told that the check would not clear because there was no money in the account.
By order to show cause sought on September 7, 2000 and returnable on September 15, 2000, respondents moved to vacate the judgment, to stay execution of the warrant, and to dismiss this proceeding. On the return date, both petitioner and respondents appeared for the first time by counsel. Respondents asserted that the basement was being used as an apartment, that respondents' apartment was located not in a two-family dwelling but in a three-unit unregistered multiple dwelling, and, therefore, that pursuant to the ...