Neighborhood Intel

How to kick a naked, knife-throwing neighbor out of a condo building

By Virginia K. Smith  | September 5, 2014 - 12:59PM

As far as bad neighbor etiquette goes, it doesn't get much worse than "wander[ing] the building lobby naked from the waist down," "toss[ing] knives at delivery people," insisting the staff refer to you as "Prince," and letting your dog relieve itself all over the shared roof deck.

These alleged offenses (and a litany of other cartoonishly awful behavior) are at the center of a lawsuit in the West Village's posh 166 Perry Street condo building, where an owner alleges that Richard Easton—to whom she's been renting out her apartment for $11,500/month—has been terrorizing the building's staff and residents.
Condo owner Elena Taranina is suing to evict her tenant, writing in her lawsuit, “Easton’s activities are of such a nature that there is no telling when he might decide to verbally or physically attack someone, or to engage in vile or inappropriate conduct."
Because of Easton—a celebrity matchmaker who's appeared on the "Real Housewives of New York"—the building has had to hire an $1,800 a day security guard, Taranina alleges, and she's suing him for the expense, as well as other damages caused to the unit and the building. For Easton's part, he claims the whole thing is a misunderstanding, traceable to "a doorman who held a grudge over a late-night request for a cheeseburger." (The suit counters that he made said cheeseburger request while exposing himself, part of a repeated pattern of sexually harassing the building's staff.)

In this case, it seems that Taranina is trying to stay on the board's good side (and avoid ending up on the hook for the building's potential legal fees against her and Easton), by serving her tenant with both an eviction notice and an injunction to stop his dangerous behavior immediately in the interim, explains Kelly Ringston, an attorney with Braverman Greenspun, which specializes in the representation of New York City co-op and condominium boards. "If nothing else, she’s gaining some good will in the condominium because the board doesn’t have to take action against her to make her remove him," explains Ringston.

It can often be notoriously hard to give tenants the boot in condo buildings, which lack the kind of veto power over residents enjoyed by co-op boards. "Greater flexibility to rent brings the possibility of greater rental-related problems," Braverman partner Robert J. Braverman has previously explained.

If, unlike Taranina, the owner in question is unwilling to get rid (or improve the behavior) of their tenant, the next logical step would be a lawsuit to get "a court order forcing the owner to evict the tenant and/or enjoining the renter from engaging in the problematic behavior," Braverman writes. 
We also spoke with Braverman about the Perry Street case in particular, and he tells us, "The unit owner probably did the right thing to commence the lawsuit, as she was likely under significant pressure from the condo board. Easton's conduct would likely be considered a violation of the governing documents by the unit owner." 
Admittedly, things don't sound promising for Easton's future in the building, but one thing he has going for him? He claims to be three months ahead on his rent.


The Board Room: When renters go bad, condos go to court (or wait for the lease to expire) (sponsored)

Neighborly nuisances, and how to avoid them

How to kick an abusive neighbor out of your co-op (sponsored)

7 questions to ask the neighbors before you move in

My Upper West Side neighbors? A prostitution ring

Is your neighbor driving you nuts—or worse? Here's what to do

One building's pee-bag-in-the-garbage-chute nightmare, and how to handle your own bad neighbors


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