The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant in this sidewalk slip and fall case was entitled to summary judgment pursuant to the exclusion of one, two, and three- family residences from liability for sidewalk defects. Although defendant was a doctor and used space in the basement as a study, the residential character of the building was controlling:
Administrative Code of the City of New York § 7-210, which became effective September 14, 2003, shifted tort liability for injuries arising from a defective sidewalk from the City to the abutting property owner … . “However, this liability-shifting provision does not apply to ‘one-, two- or three-family residential real property that is (i) in whole or in part, owner occupied, and (ii) used exclusively for residential purposes'” … . …
… [T]he defendant established … that the premises abutting the public sidewalk was a two-family, owner-occupied residence, and thus, that she is entitled to the exemption from liability for owner-occupied residential property. Contrary to the Supreme Court’s determination, the defendant’s partial use of the basement as an office space was merely incidental to her residential use of the property … . While the defendant testified at her deposition that she was a doctor and used a portion of the basement apartment as a study or home office and that it held office equipment, no evidence indicated that she used the space with regularity or that she claimed the premises as her business address or as a tax deduction. McCalla v Piris-Fraser, 2023 NY Slip Op 05722, Second Dept 11-15-23
Practice Point: Here the owner of the two-family residence abutting the sidewalk where plaintiff slipped and fell was a doctor who had a study or home office in the basement. The home office or study did not transform the property to a business and the doctor was entitled to the “owner-occupied, two-family-residence” exclusion from liability in the NYC Administrative Code re: sidewalk defects.