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Kavulich & Associates, P.C.

Kavulich & Associates, P.C. is a debt collection law firm based in Westchester, New York. Our cases against Mr. Kavulich's landlord clients have involved landlord-tenant (rent) disputes in New York city.

The Langel Firm is dedicated to protecting you against collection lawsuits, and wage garnishments, and bank seizures.

Strategies for Tenants in Housing Disputes

When facing a landlord-tenant dispute, it's crucial to understand your legal grounds for defense. These defenses can be pivotal in determining the outcome of your case. Here are key points to consider:

  • Procedural Requirements: Assert if the landlord failed to serve notices correctly (bad service of papers) or did not provide prerequisite notifications before initiating the case.

  • Warranty of Habitability: If the apartment or building has serious conditions violating the warranty of habitability, such as lack of essential services or disrepair that the landlord neglected, this can be a defense.

  • Disputing Rent and Payment Issues: Defenses can include having paid the rent, being overcharged beyond the legal or lease-specified rent, landlord's refusal to accept rent, or the landlord's excessive delay in bringing a case (laches).

For a nonpayment case, tenants may also point to harassment or improper actions by the landlord as a basis for defense. In holdover cases, defenses might include disputing the landlord's claims, rectifying the cited issues, or citing harassment or retaliation by the landlord. For a comprehensive list of potential defenses, refer to guides on answering eviction notices related to nonpayment or holdover situations.

What is a 'Nonpayment Case'?

In New York, a 'Nonpayment case' refers to a legal action taken by a landlord against a tenant due to the tenant's failure to pay rent on time. Here's what typically happens:

  • Initiation: The landlord starts the case by filing a legal notice, claiming that rent has not been paid as agreed.

  • Tenant Response: The tenant must respond to this notice, often with an "Answer," which is an official response stating any defenses or reasons for not paying the rent.

  • Court Proceedings: If the situation is not resolved outside of court, both parties will present their arguments and evidence to a judge who will make a ruling.

In these cases, tenants have the opportunity to dispute the claim, provide evidence of payment, or present other defenses such as issues with the rental property that justify withholding rent. It's important for tenants to know their rights and respond appropriately to avoid possible eviction.

When is a Nonpayment Case Brought?

A nonpayment case is typically initiated while the tenant is still occupying the rental property and has allegedly failed to pay the rent that is due. The purpose of this type of case is for the landlord to collect overdue rent or to evict the tenant for nonpayment. If the tenant has already vacated the property, the landlord may pursue other legal actions to recover unpaid rent, such as a civil lawsuit, rather than a nonpayment proceeding in housing court.

7 Key Defenses in a Nonpayment Rent Case

  1. Full or Partial Rent Paid: Assert this if rent has been fully or partially paid, particularly if payment is made in full before the court date, which should settle the case.

  2. Warranty of Habitability: Cite this if your rental conditions are unsafe or essential services like heat and water are inadequate, especially if the landlord was aware and did not address these issues.

  3. Incorrect Rent Demanded: Use this if the rent requested exceeds the amount legally allowed or what is stipulated in your current lease, including instances of rent control or stabilization discrepancies.

  4. Overpayment of Rent: If you've paid more than the agreed rent, this defense may reduce the owed amount and potentially recover the excess paid.

  5. Refusal of Rent Payment: This applies if the landlord refused to accept rent payments, including not cashing checks or avoiding receipt of payment.

  6. Delayed Legal Action (Laches): If the landlord unreasonably delayed legal action to your surprise and detriment, you may assert laches as a defense.

  7. Landlord Harassment: This includes actions by the landlord to force eviction through threats, cessation of services, or changing locks without just cause.

Kavulich & Associates Scrutinized for Misattributed Debt Collection

In B.H. v. Kavulich & Associates, P.C., the law firm faced a lawsuit for persisting in debt collection against an individual wrongly identified due to a similar name. Despite clear evidence, including identification and a sworn statement from the actual debtor, the firm continued litigation beyond a promised resolution, leading to significant personal and financial strains for the wronged individual. The case was settled.

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