715. Grounds and procedure where use or occupancy is illegal. 1. An owner or tenant, including a tenant of one or more rooms of an apartment house, tenement house or multiple dwelling, of any premises within two hundred feet from other demised real property used or occupied in whole or in part as a bawdy-house, or house or place of assignation for lewd persons, or for purposes of prostitution, or for any illegal trade, business or manufacture, or any domestic corporation organized for the suppression of vice, subject to or which submits to visitation by the state department of social services and possesses a certificate from such department of such fact and of conformity with regulations of the department, or any duly authorized enforcement agency of the state or of a subdivision thereof, under a duty to enforce the provisions of the penal law or of any state or local law, ordinance, code, rule or regulation relating to buildings, may serve personally upon the owner or landlord of the premises so used or occupied, or upon his agent, a written notice requiring the owner or landlord to make an application for the removal of the person so using or occupying the same. If the owner or landlord or his agent does not make such application within five days thereafter; or, having made it, does not in good faith diligently prosecute it, the person, corporation or enforcement agency giving the notice may bring a proceeding under this article for such removal as though the petitioner were the owner or landlord of the premises, and shall have precedence over any similar proceeding thereafter brought by such owner or landlord or to one theretofore brought by him and not prosecuted diligently and in good faith. Proof of the ill repute of the demised premises or of the inmates thereof or of those resorting thereto shall constitute presumptive evidence of the unlawful use of the demised premises required to be stated in the petition for removal. Both the person in possession of the property and the owner or landlord shall be made respondents in the proceeding.
2. For purposes of this section, two or more convictions of any person or persons had, within a period of one year, for any of the offenses described in section 230.00, 230.05, 230.06, 230.11, 230.12, 230.13, 230.20, 230.25, 230.30, 230.32 or 230.40 of the penal law arising out of conduct engaged in at the same real property consisting of a dwelling as that term is defined in subdivision four of section four of the multiple dwelling law shall be presumptive evidence of conduct constituting use of the premises for purposes of prostitution.
3. For the purposes of this section, two or more convictions of any person or persons had, within a period of one year, for any of the offenses described in section 225.00, 225.05, 225.10, 225.15, 225.20, 225.30, 225.32, 225.35 or 225.40 of the penal law, arising out of conduct engaged in at the same premises consisting of a dwelling as that term is defined in subdivision four of section four of the multiple dwelling law shall be presumptive evidence of unlawful use of such premises and of the owner's knowledge of the same.
4. A court granting a petition pursuant to this section may, in addition to any other order provided by law, make an order imposing and requiring the payment by the respondent of a civil penalty not exceeding five thousand dollars to the municipality in which the subject premises is located and, the payment of reasonable attorneys fees and the costs of the proceeding to the petitioner. In any such case multiple respondents shall be jointly and severally liable for any payment so ordered and the amounts of such payments shall constitute a lien upon the subject realty.
5. For the purposes of a proceeding under this section, an enforcement agency of the state or of a subdivision thereof, which may commence a proceeding under this section, may subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine them under oath before himself or a court and require that any books, records, documents or papers relevant or material to the inquiry be turned over to him for inspection, examination or audit, pursuant to the civil practice law and rules. If a person subpoenaed to attend upon such inquiry fails to obey the command of a subpoena without reasonable cause, or if a person in attendance upon such inquiry shall, without reasonable cause, refuse to be sworn or to be examined or to answer a question or to produce a book or paper, when ordered to do so by the officer conducting such inquiry, he shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Last modified: February 3, 2019