HABITAT

LEGAL/FINANCIAL

The Co-op Sublet That Went Terribly Wrong

Upper East Side

Sublet Slacker

The Lombardy, a hybrid co-op/hotel, is the scene of a lawsuit over unpaid rent (image via Google Maps).

Nov. 7, 2018

There are good reasons why co-op boards put restrictions on shareholders’ right to sublet their apartments. One of those reasons is on graphic display at the Lombardy, a hybrid co-op/hotel on the Upper East Side where a subletter’s failure to pay $160,000 in rent has led to a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, the New York Post reports.

Jeffrey Kosow, 73, who owns more than 4,500 rental and condo units in New York, New England and Florida, has repeatedly shirked the $9,000 monthly bill for the suite he shares with wife June at the high-end Lombardy on East 56th Street, according to court papers filed by the unit’s owners. The building, developed in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst, has 154 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom suites and studios available for rent, as well as co-op apartments where shareholders are in permanent residence. 

The suite rented by the Kosows is owned by Michael Fischer and his son Andrew via a company, Lombardy 711 Inc. The owners accuse Jeffrey and June Kosow of “exploiting” their long-term friendship. At first, the Kosows paid their bill, enjoying room and maid service and a nightly turn-down service when they took up residence in 2012, the Fischers say in court papers, adding that “when Jeffrey Kosow’s good business fortunes turned south … [they] remained in their hotel suite without the ability or intention of paying for it.” 

Kosow lived rent-free for a year while promising to pay but never did so, the Fischers claim. Kosow could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, the Lombardy, which began life as a high-end hotel, might want to consider shedding its current hybrid status and turning itself into a real live co-op.

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