Elderly Tenant Falls after Temporary Move for Repairs

A property owner’s motion to dismiss has been rejected by a judge in Queens after an 82-year-old tenant slipped and fell at an apartment where she was temporarily housed while renovations were made to her flat.

Kathy Pantos, the elderly woman, had an apartment on 29th Street in Astoria that the owners were updating. They asked her to temporarily relocate to another building on Crescent Street, also in Astoria, until the repairs were completed. In her complaint, Pantos said that employees from the moving company she hired told her that, because of recent renovations to the Crescent Street apartment, the floors were too slippery and posed a significant risk of injury. She contacted her landlord, who promised to fix the floors in the Crescent Street apartment and reimburse her for the costs of the temporary move.

Pantos subsequently moved into the Crescent Street apartment, but the floors were never fixed. Shortly after she moved in, she fell, sustaining a concussion, as well as injuries to her knees, shoulder and back.

The landlords sought to have Pantos’ lawsuit dismissed, arguing that they did not own the property on Crescent Street and therefore had no liability. Queens Supreme Court Justice Rudolph Greco, Jr., disagreed. Because Pantos sought damages for “negligent repair,” he held, it did not matter who owned the property. He found that the landlord had made a promise to repair, and that Pantos’ decision to move into the apartment was reasonably based on that promise. Accordingly, the landlord could be found liable for failing to make repairs.

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