Reservation of right to reenter premises alone not sufficient to charge landlord with liability

Cano v. Ahead Realty, Corp., Supreme Court, Queens County, No. 20467/2008, May 9, 2011

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Justice Robert L. Nahman granted summary judgment to a defendant landlord in a bodily injury action involving a fall on an allegedly wet and worn staircase. Plaintiff, a bartender’s assistant, claimed that the landlord was liable because it had reserved the right to enter the premises for the purposes of inspection and repair. The lone defendant was an out-of-possession landlord who had leased the premises to the plaintiff’s employer.

John O. Fronce led the defense of the landlord. Presenting the Court with the lease and deposition testimony, Fronce established a prima facie case that the defendant had not created the allegedly dangerous condition, and did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition. The Court agreed that allegations of a defective condition, absent the violation of a code or statute, were insufficient to rebut the prima facie case. There was no appeal.