Because the Lease Authorized Landlord to Make Repairs, the Erection of Scaffolding Could Not Constitute a Partial Eviction; Occupant Not Named on the Lease Owes Rent Under a Quantum Meruit Theory
With respect to the lessee of a garage, the First Department determined the landlord’s erection of scaffolding to make repairs was allowed by the lease and, therefore, did not constitute a partial eviction. With respect to a party which occupied the premises but which was not a party to the lease, the First Department determined rent was owed to the landlord under a quantum meruit theory:
The … defendants’ argument that they were partially evicted from the garage is unavailing. “To be an eviction, constructive or actual, there must be a wrongful act by the landlord” … . Plaintiff’s installation of temporary scaffolding as part of its repairs to the garage’s facade was not wrongful because it was authorized by the lease … . … “[T]enants are well advised . . . to specify some limits to the exculpatory clause concerning repairs” … . * * *
A claim by a landlord against a nonlessee occupant for use and occupancy should not be foreclosed simply because there is a lease covering the premises. The obligations of the lessee arising under the lease are distinct from the obligations of an occupant of premises toward the owner of those premises.
Notwithstanding the general rule that “[t]he existence of a valid and enforceable written contract governing a particular subject matter ordinarily precludes recovery in quasi contract for events arising out of the same subject matter” … , in the landlord-tenant context, the occupant of premises is liable to the owner of the property for use and occupancy irrespective of the existence of a lease in the name of another entity: “[t]he obligation to pay for use and occupancy does not arise from an underlying contract between the landlord and the occupant[,] [but] [r]ather, an occupant’s duty to pay the landlord for its use and occupancy of the premises is predicated upon the theory of quantum meruit, and is imposed by law for the purpose of bringing about justice without reference to the intention of the parties” … . Carlyle, LLC v Beekman Garage LLC, 2015 NY Slip Op 08499, 1st Dept 11-19-15