The Second Department determined plaintiffs-lessees were entitled to bring a private action (pursuant to a provision of the town code) to rescind a lease, and were entitled to rescission and return of the paid rent. After paying $216,000 to lease defendant’s residential property for approximately 3 1/2 months, the plaintiffs learned defendant did not have a rental permit required by section 270 of the town code. The code provision was enacted to address overcrowding in properties rented for the summer. The Second Department held the code provision created a private right of action and the rental permit was a condition precedent to any lease. With respect to the private right of action, the court wrote:
Where, as here, a statute “does not explicitly provide for a private cause of action, recovery may be had under the statute only if a legislative intent to create such a right of action is fairly implied’ in the statutory provisions and their legislative history” … . This inquiry involves three factors: ” (1) whether the plaintiff is one of the class for whose particular benefit the statute was enacted; (2) whether recognition of a private right of action would promote the legislative purpose; and (3) whether creation of such a right would be consistent with the legislative scheme'” … . The third factor is often noted to be the “most important” … . Where, as here, the legislature clearly contemplated administrative enforcement of the statute, ” [t]he question then becomes whether, in addition to administrative enforcement, an implied private right of action would be consistent with the legislative scheme'”… .
The plaintiffs satisfied the first and second factors here. Town Code § 270 is intended to benefit the occupants of rental properties in the Town of Southampton by requiring owners to obtain a valid rental permit as a condition precedent to the collection of rent (see Town Code § 270-13). Moreover, the legislative purpose is promoted by preventing owners from profiting from the rental of properties that are overcrowded, substandard, or otherwise violate State and Town laws.
The third factor, requiring that a private cause of action under a statute be consistent with the legislative scheme, has also been satisfied. As the Supreme Court correctly observed, Town Code § 270 is directed toward protecting the health, safety, and well-being of persons renting homes in the Town of Southampton. In that regard, Town Code § 270-6 requires that prior to the issuance of a rental permit, the enforcement authority must “make an on-site inspection of the proposed rental property” to ensure that the property “complies with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the Code of the Town of Southampton” (Town Code § 270-6). Although Town Code § 270 is intended to be enforced by designated Town officials and provides for penalties and fines, “without the threat of recoupment of rent, aside from the possibility of administrative enforcement, there is no incentive for a landlord to obtain a license, which is an overriding concern of the Town” … . Ader v Guzman, 2016 NY Slip Op 00137, 2nd Dept 1-13-16
NEGLIGENCE (QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER HOTEL DEFENDANT VICARIOUSLY LIABLE FOR NEGLIGENCE OF SNOWMOBILE TOUR GUIDE UNDER APPARENT AGENCY THEORY)/AGENCY (QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER HOTEL DEFENDANT VICARIOUSLY LIABLE FOR NEGLIGENCE OF SNOWMOBILE TOUR GUIDE UNDER APPARENT AGENCY THEORY)