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First Department Reviews Lessee’s Responsibilities for Common Areas

January 22, 2014 • Posted By Joseph A. French • Complex Litigation

Appellant Payless had a store lease with its landlord.  The lease specified that the demised premises were for ground floor space but that the sidewalk fell under the landlord’s “exclusive control and management.”  “This case is controlled by Rothstein v. 400 E. 54th St. Co. 51 A.D.3d 431 (1st Dep’t 2008), in which we held that the lessee of a condominium’s commercial unit had no duty to maintain stairs that were part of the common elements but not part of its leased premises.  Accordingly, Payless was not under any contractual, statutory or common-law duty to maintain VNO’s sidewalk.”

Thus, because the sidewalk was not part of the leased premises, Payless had no duty to maintain the sidewalk. The First Department reversed the Lower Court’s decision and dismissed all claims and cross-claims pleaded against Payless.  [Vivas v. VNO Brucker Plaza LLC, 2014 NY Slip Op. 00064].