Apr 2, 2012

Resident of Bronx 3/4 House Granted Rights of A Tenant

As reported in the New York Law Journal, a recent decision by a Bronx Housing Court judge found that state law gives individual under community supervision living in an apartment provided by a drug treatment program the same rights as a tenant. The case was brought by MFY Legal Services against Narco Freedom, a non-profit company licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance abuse to offer substance abuse treatment. The argument in the case centered around whether the individual residing in the house was a tenant or merely a licensee. A licensee has no right or interest in a property, and therefore is not afforded the legal protections of a tenant.

The case that prompted the decision, Gregory v. Crespo, arose when an individual under community supervision who was living in one of Narco Freedom's Houses graduated from his drug treatment program, operated off site.  At that time, Narco Freedom advised him that he would be moved to another site. Mr. Gregory did not want to move.

Attorneys for Narco Freedom argued that Mr. Gregory merely had a license to use the premises and therefore could be discharged without court involvement. The judge, however, agreed with MFY attorneys who argued that Mr. Gregory was a tenant and therefore could not be evicted without proper proceedings.

This ruling is a departure from other other court decisions which have determined that occupants of these types of housing (sometimes referred to as 3/4 housing) are merely licensees and not tenants.

MFY attorney, Mr. Main, said that this decision "could be persuasive authority for other courts and I think it could certainly serve as an incentive for those who are living under these circumstances" to challenge evictions.