Our Results: Proprietary Lease ambiguous as to exclusive use of separate garden entrance by shareholder

by Bonnie Reid Berkow

Our client sued his co-op because he paid substantially more for his apartment due to the existence of an existing separate entrance with a large garden area in front, and the coop had taken a portion of his yard to erect walls and a handicap ramp. The co-op sought to dismiss the complaint because the client’s lease did not use the word “exclusive” to describe his right to the separate entrance and yard. The case went up on appeal, and the Appellate Court upheld the claim for breach of contract stating that the language of the lease was ambiguous, requiring an evaluation of evidence to determine the intent of the parties’ as to whether the shareholder had an exclusive right to use the garden area.

Koretz v. 363 East 76th Street Corporation, Index No. 656255/2017; Appellate Division, First Department, Dec. 3, 2019.

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