Lazarus, Lazarus & Winston (Jason Fuhrman of counsel), for petitioner.
Irina Danilova, respondent pro se.
Lizbeth González, J.
The petitioner in the underlying holdover proceeding seeks to evict the self-represented respondent from apartment A at 2059 Colonial Avenue in Bronx County, on the ground that the occupancy is illegal and subjects the petitioner to civil and criminal penalties.
This matter was first heard in Part G on December 1, 2000 and adjourned to December 14, 2000 for a Russian interpreter and to allow the respondent an opportunity to consult with an attorney. On the return date, the respondent appeared without counsel. During the course of a court conference, the petitioner conceded that she illegally rented the basement apartment for more than 20 years. Hearing this, the Court questioned whether the Housing Court has jurisdiction to award to petitioner a final judgment of possession or whether the holdover proceeding should be dismissed on the ground that the petitioner's remedy is an ejectment action more properly brought in Civil Court or Supreme Court. The Court requested a memorandum of law addressing the import of the illegal occupancy in this regard. In the memorandum subsequently submitted to the Court, the petitioner stipulated to the following facts:
(a) The petitioner purchased the premises in 1977. Apartment A was rented at the time of purchase. When that tenant moved, the apartment was rented to the respondent.
(b) The premises has six legal apartments. Apartment A, the cellar apartment, is not one of the six legal apartments. According to the certificate of occupancy, the cellar may only be used as a boiler room, storage, carriage room, laundry or doctor's office.
(c) The building is subject to rent stabilization. The cellar apartment was registered through 1998 with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal as a rent-stabilized apartment.
(d) The New York City Department of Buildings inspected the subject premises and issued a summons to the petitioner for violating the certificate of occupancy. The petitioner was directed to legalize the subject premises or restore it to its legal use.
(e) The petitioner spoke to an architect and learned that it was " not feasible" ...