senate Bill S2365

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Authorizes the district attorney to intervene in a proceeding brought by the owner of premises upon which the tenant's occupancy is illegal

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 20, 2014 committed to rules
Mar 03, 2014 advanced to third reading
Feb 27, 2014 2nd report cal.
Feb 26, 2014 1st report cal.171
Jan 08, 2014 referred to housing, construction and community development
returned to senate
died in assembly
May 06, 2013 referred to judiciary
delivered to assembly
passed senate
Mar 04, 2013 advanced to third reading
Feb 28, 2013 2nd report cal.
Feb 27, 2013 1st report cal.94
Jan 16, 2013 referred to housing, construction and community development

Votes

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Feb 26, 2014 - Housing, Construction and Community Development committee Vote

S2365
8
1
committee
8
Aye
1
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Housing, Construction and Community Development committee vote details

Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee Vote: Feb 26, 2014

nay (1)

Feb 27, 2013 - Housing, Construction and Community Development committee Vote

S2365
9
0
committee
9
Aye
0
Nay
0
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
show Housing, Construction and Community Development committee vote details

Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee Vote: Feb 27, 2013

Co-Sponsors

S2365 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7054
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง715, RPAP L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
S6026, A8687

S2365 - Bill Texts

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Authorizes the district attorney to intervene in a proceeding brought by the owner of premises upon which the tenant's occupancy is illegal based upon it's use.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S2365 REVISED 2/6/13

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property actions and
proceedings law, in relation to the intervention of the district attor-
ney having jurisdiction in a proceeding where use or occupancy of resi-
dential rental property is illegal

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would give the District
Attorney the jurisdiction to intervene in cases in which a landlord
seeks to recover property where use or occupancy involves any illegal
trade or business on the premises.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The District Attorney has jurisdiction
if the proceeding for removal is the result of illegal trade or busi-
ness.

JUSTIFICATION: This proposed Bill seeks to address certain provisions
of the Real Property and Procedure Law (R.P.A.P.L.) concerned with the
evictions of tenants and/or their occupants who use or allow the use of
their premises for illegal trade or business, for example human traf-
ficking, prostitution, gambling, trademark counterfeiting, fencing
stolen goods, and narcotics and marijuana manufacture and sale. Under
current law, certain provisions of the Real Property Law (R.P.L. 231(1)
and the R.P.A.P.L. (R.P.A.P.L. 711(5) and R.P.A.P.L. 715) bestow the
right and establish the procedure by which landlords must pursue
evictions of their tenants and occupants who are using or allowing the
use of their property for purposes of illegal trade or business, histor-
ically known as "Bawdy House Cases." In essence, these statutes current-
ly allow a District Attorney, as a "duly authorized enforcement agency
... under a duty to enforce the provisions of the penal law..."
R.P.A.P.L. 715(1)) to serve written notice upon the landlord demanding
that an eviction proceeding be initiated against property that is being
used for illegal purposes. The landlord must then, within five days,
start and "diligently pursue" an eviction proceeding under these stat-
utes. If the landlord fails to do so, the District Attorney may bring
the proceeding.

These actions are an important weapon against human trafficking, prosti-
tution, gambling, trademark counterfeiting, fencing stolen goods, and
narcotics and marijuana manufacture and sale. They protect landlords and
other tenants from the deterioration of their homes and from the
violence that often accompanies these illegal businesses. These actions
further serve to increase the quality of life in neighborhoods, preserv-
ing and protecting the safety and security of our communities. For exam-
ple, there has been a marked decline in the number of brothels in Queens
County and in the number of illegal narcotics enterprises in the Bronx
as a result of these statutes.

Of course, the essential proof in such an action is the proof that the
property has been used for illegal trade or business. This invariably
requires the questioning of police witnesses including undercover police

officers, the introduction of voluminous police reports, as well as the
establishment of the tenant's relationship to the criminal industry.
Obviously, prosecutors are equipped with special expertise in such
matters and are far more experienced in dealing with police witnesses,
police documentation, including laboratory analyses, and are more sensi-
tive to securing the identity of the undercover police officer. They are
also more attuned to dealing with the confidential information that is
often attached to search warrant cases, ever-aware of the potentially
lethal consequences of classified information being published. On the
other hand, landlord-tenant attorneys possess more expertise in issues
relating to tenancy matters, succession rights and possessory interests
in property.

Historically, in situations where the landlord brought a proceeding
pursuant to a demand letter from the District Attorney's Office, the
practice had been for prosecutors to assist the landlord. This ability
to work side-by-side not only reduced the burden on the landlord's
attorney but also made the proceedings more expeditious and fostered the
security of not only police officers but also confidential informants
who risked their lives obtaining information necessary to establish
probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant. See, Rochdale
Village, Inc. v. Harris, 172 Misc.2d 758 (Civil Court, Queens County
1997).

Recently, however, some courts have began to question the legality of
the District Attorney's appearance, pointing out that the present statu-
tory structure contemplates such a proceeding by either the landlord or
(if he fails to act) the District Attorney, but not both. Perdomo v.
Morgenthau, 60 AD3d 435 (1't Dept. 2009); Dennis Lane Apartments, Inc.,
v. Alex Green, 864 N.Y.S.2d 247; 21 Misc.3d 480 (2008).

The ability to work with landlords in order to facilitate an eviction of
this type is one that needs to be preserved. The reason for the eviction
is based on a criminal activity; activity which needs to be addressed by
those who are routinely dealing with the evidence and fruits of a crime-
the District Attorney's Office. Furthermore the District Attorney's
office represents a voice that is not party to the eviction-those of the
neighbors and community members who have to live side by side with this
criminal activity, fearing for their lives at times and the safety of
their children. This is not an eviction based on non-payment or lease
provisions being violated, this is an eviction based on the continuous
criminal activity in an residence which endangers those living in the
community surrounding this residence.

The present proposal seeks to simply plug this gap and permit both the
landlord and the District Attorney to bring the action together. This
bill seeks to remove this issue from the judiciary and will firmly and
clearly legislatively establish that these attorneys are permitted to
work in tandem for the betterment of the community, for safer streets
and for more secure living and working environments.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: S. 6026 - Passed Senate

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 90 days after it shall have
become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2365

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 16, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. KLEIN, RANZENHOFER -- read twice and ordered print-
  ed, and when printed to be committed  to  the  Committee  on  Housing,
  Construction and Community Development

AN  ACT  to  amend  the  real  property  actions and proceedings law, in
  relation to the intervention of the district attorney having jurisdic-
  tion in a proceeding where use  or  occupancy  of  residential  rental
  property is illegal

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 715 of the real property  actions  and  proceedings
law is amended by adding a new subdivision 6 to read as follows:
  6.  IN  ANY PROCEEDING COMMENCED BY AN OWNER, PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION
OR SECTION SEVEN HUNDRED ELEVEN OF THIS ARTICLE, FOR  THE  REMOVAL  FROM
THE  POSSESSION  OF  PREMISES  FROM  A TENANT OR TENANTS UPON ANY GROUND
SPECIFIED IN SUBDIVISION  ONE  OF  THIS  SECTION,  SUBDIVISION  FIVE  OF
SECTION  SEVEN  HUNDRED  ELEVEN  OF  THIS  ARTICLE OR SUBDIVISION ONE OF
SECTION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE OF THE REAL PROPERTY  LAW,  THE  DISTRICT
ATTORNEY HAVING JURISDICTION OVER SUCH PREMISES MAY INTERVENE AND APPEAR
AS OF RIGHT IN SUCH PROCEEDING BY FILING A NOTICE OF APPEARANCE WITH THE
COURT.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02867-02-3

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