To the surprise of many celebrity hounds, rock star Courtney Love recently emerged victorious in a battle with her New York City landlord who was trying to evict her.
New York City Housing Court Judge Jean T. Schneider issued a decision on Jan. 17 to dismiss a petition filed with the court last November by Love’s landlord, Donna Lyon, seeking rent money and an eviction. According to the initial lease agreement, Love was required to pay her first six months’ rent on her $27,000-per-month apartment up front. Love paid the full $162,000.
However, friction between landlord and tenant got hot when, Lyon says, she decided to sell the house and sent a photographer over to take pictures for a brochure. She claimed that when she saw the photos, she’d seen that Love had painted and wallpapered part of the property—apparently due to a fire that broke out in a bedroom last June—without permission.
Prior to the end of the first six-month term, Lyon changed the terms of the lease to require Love to pay the rent on a monthly basis. Love did pay the rent for the first two months, September and October, under the new arrangement and Lyon accepted the money. But then the landlord tried to return to the initial terms of the lease and claim that Love still owed her rent. Judge Schneider ruled, however, that because Lyon accepted the money for September and October, it meant that the monthly-payment arrangement was binding and Lyon’s petition was dismissed.
Love’s reputation for unruly behavior and drug abuse make this most recent scuffle a “man bites dog” story that garnered many headlines. But according to New York City tenants lawyer Jeff McAdams, it also stands as a typical tale of the times.
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