A New York City woman claims her landlord evicted her because she had cancer. The Manhattan resident maintains that the apartment’s management company was afraid she would not be able to pay her rent if her cancer returned.
A lawsuit filed January 25 in Manhattan Federal Court notes that the landlord started harassing cancer survivor Heatheran Kristopher. Kristopher, 43, battled colon and ovarian cancer in 2008.
“I feel completely alone,” Kristopher told DNAinfo.com. “I feel completely lost right now. I know it’s only an apartment, but it’s just what I went through here. I healed myself here. I came home from chemo and laid in this backyard.”
Kristopher moved to the East 81st Street apartment in 2008, the same years she was diagnosed. She completed chemotherapy and radiation at Memorial Sloan Kettering. While her illness was in full swing, she fell behind on her rent. According to the suit, Kristopher had signed a two-year lease with the management company.
In September 2011, however, a new management company — Stone Street Properties LLC — took over the building. At the time, Kristopher owed $10,000 in rent.
In September, Kristopher said her new landlords began pressing her to leave.
Court papers indicate Robert Morgenstern, co-founder of Stone Street, showed up at her door and demanded the owed rent. Kristopher said she told Morgenstern she had cancer.
According to the suit, that’s when he started yelling at her.
“How do I know you’re not going to get cancer again?” Morgenstern asked her, according to court documents.
According to the suit, Stone Street told Kristopher her new lease was not valid. They urged her to sign a lesser lease and reportedly tried to increase her rent by $700.
In November 2011, Stone Street tried to evict Kristopher. The real estate broker filed a discrimination claim with the New York Division of Housing and Urban Development. She then filed a federal lawsuit.
On Monday, Kristopher was evicted from her apartment when the New York Supreme Court ruled in Stone Street’s favor.
“She’s a sour grapes tenant, who was evicted because she had no lease,” Morgenstern said. He denies making any comment about her illness. “I categorically deny any wrongdoing.”
Do you think that Kristopher should have been evicted because she had cancer?
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