Michael P. Kozek founded Ween & Kozek with the goal of providing dedicated, high-quality representation to tenants, artists, and entrepreneurs. Mr. Kozek’s practice highlights real estate, trusts and estates, and art law.
Mr. Kozek’s approach to litigation incorporates vigorous advocacy and application of the law, and the crafting of creative, yet rational and policy-driven arguments that impact the development of the law and future cases.
As a litigator, Mr. Kozek practices in the New York State Court of Appeals, Appellate Division, Appellate Term, Supreme Court, and Surrogate's Court, the New York City Civil Court, Housing Court, as well as administrative proceedings before the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the New York City Loft Board, the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York City Environmental Control Board, the Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Mr. Kozek handles all aspects of litigation through trial and appeal, including pre-litigation strategy development and litigation preparation, drafting of initiating documents, discovery, pretrial motions, settlement negotiations, trial, and briefing and arguing of appeals.
Mr. Kozek has represented numerous tenants in landlord-tenant disputes, defending tenants from eviction, seeking rent regulation protection under Rent Control, Rent Stabilization and the Loft Law, and recovering damages for rent overcharge. He represents loft tenants, seeking Loft Law protection, and advising and representing them in the complex processes of legalization and transition to rent stabilization under the Loft Law.
Mr. Kozek’s real estate transactional practice has included regular handling of real estate purchases and sales, representation of cooperative and condominium boards, and conversion of real property to condominium or cooperatives through the drafting and filing of an offering plan or application for a no-action letter from the New York State Attorney General.
Mr. Kozek is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society, participant in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and CALI award winner. While attending law school, Mr. Kozek served as a judicial intern for Hon. Gerald Lebovits, of the Civil Court, New York County, during which time he contributed research for an article entitled Drug Holdover Proceedings: An Overview From "Knew " to "Should Have Known," to "Strict Liability", authored by Hon. Lebovits and Douglass J. Seidman, and published in the New York Real Property Law Journal.
- Matter of 255 18th Street, BSA Cal. No. 2018-22-A (Nov. 20, 2018) (landmark case where NYC Board of Standards and Appeals revoked certificate of occupancy for a Loft Law covered building on the grounds that the owner had not substantially completed the work to legalize the building years prior.)
- PB 165 William Street Holdings LLC v. Sero-Boim and Kurylo, 2019 WL 362682, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 50132 (U) (App. Term, 1st Dep't, 2019) (rare case accepting theory that occupants may have become rent stabilized through landlord's waiver. The Court reversed the lower court's dismissal of tenant's waiver defense, finding that landlord's acceptance of tenant's rent for years, giving of rent credits and issuance of rent invoices, and tenant's performance of improvements with consent, and direct dealings with landlord for maintenance, rent and repair issues, created an issue of fact about whether the landlord had waived its right to object to occupants' occupancy and status as rent stabilized tenants.
- Thompson Assets LLC v. Raffelo, 61 Misc.3d 130 (A), 2018 NY Slip Op. 51411 (U) (App. Term, 1st Dep’t, 2018) (affirming summary judgment in tenants’ favor, determining that they are rent stabilized because the unit was not luxury deregulated prior to their tenancy/rejecting landlord’s unpleaded “first rent” theory of exemption. Attorneys’ fees awarded to the tenants.) http://nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_51411.htm
- Genuine Realty Corp. v. Mitchell, 2018 WL 5046890, 2018 NY Slip Op. (U) (App. Term, 1st Dep’t, 2018) (reversing lower court decision refusing to vacate long-term rent stabilized tenant’s default where the tenant was caring for her ill mother and was unaware of the case, and had a meritorious defense that she did not unlawfully sublet the unit while away) http://nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_51457.htm
Ben-Horin v. COSO 120 West 105, LLC, 2018 WL 2971167 (Sup. Ct., NY Co., 2018) (granting tenants' motion for summary judgment, awarding tenants rent stabilization protection, rent overcharge award of approx. $80,000.00, and attorneys' fees)
Lam v. Gubelmann, Unreported (Civ. Ct., NY Co., Hon. John H. Stanley, J.H.C., Mar. 27, 2018) (granting tenant's motion to stay holdover eviction proceeding pending outcome of tenant's Loft Board application and Article 78 appeal, and denying landlord's request for use and occupancy due to absence of a certificate of occupancy)
177 Water Street Realty Corp. v. Gallo, N.Y.L.J., Mar. 9, 2018 (Civ. Ct., Kings Co., Hon. Frances Ortiz, J.H.C.) (dismissing landlord's nonpayment eviction proceeding on grounds that building lacks a certificate of occupancy)
Matter of McKenna, Loft Bd. Order No. 4739 (Feb. 15, 2018) (obtained protected occupant status for tenant, significant roll back of rent, and overcharge award of $132,859.52) http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/loft/LBO-4739-PO-0016-and-TA-0210-870-Broadway-Man.pdf
- 49 Bleecker, Inc. v. Gathien, 157 A.D.3d 619 (1st Dep’t, 2018) (reversal of Appellate Term, 1st Department, dismissing nonpayment eviction proceeding against Loft Law protected tenant on grounds that building lacked a certificate of occupancy pursuant to MDL § 302; Court determines that net lessees are “owners” under the Multiple Dwelling Law for purposes of MDL § 302) https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-first-department/2018/5518-570312-14-64244-13.html
- BR 31, LLC v. Landess and Llewellyn, 57 Misc.3d 156 (A) (App. Term, 1st Dep’t, 2017) (reversing trial court denial of summary judgment; dismissing holdover petition, and finding that prior “buyout” agreement that did not contain any language regarding a sale of rights did not result in deregulation of former Loft Law unit; tenants are rent stabilized and awarded attorneys’ fees): https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-term-first-department/2017/2017-ny-slip-op-51644-u.html
- Matter of Tenants of 79 Lorimer, Loft Bd. Order No. 4688 (Sept. 21, 2017) (obtained coverage for building and tenants under Loft Law after trial): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/loft/LBO-4688-TR-1273-79-Lorime-Street-Bklyn.pdf
- American Package Company, Inc. v. Benjamin Gleitzman, Unreported, Civ. Ct., Kings Co., Housing Part E, Index No. 96702/16 (Hon. Thomas M. Fitzpatrick, Feb. 15, 2017) (in holdover eviction proceeding commenced on the basis that no lease existed between landlord and tenant because tenant did not pay full security or rent under the lease, court dismisses proceeding finding tenant has an enforceable contract where there is no dispute tenant signed the lease, landlord delivered it to tenant fully executed, and respondent was already in possession of the premises).
- Matter of Tenants of 79 Lorimer Street, OATH Index No. 1020/16 (March 23, 2017) (after hard fought trial, obtains a recommendation of Loft Law coverage and protected occupant status for tenants)
- Matter of Redsky JZ Roebling, LLC, Loft Board Order No. 4610 (Jan. 19, 2017) (denying landlord's application for decoverage of IMD unit where landlord made no effort to legalize unit)
- Wang & Associates, LLC v. Location, Location, Location, 2016 WL 6561318, (Civ. Ct., NY Co., Housing Part, July 21, 2016) (dismissing nonpayment eviction proceeding with prejudice on the grounds that the building lacks a certificate of occupancy as required by the Multiple Dwelling Law)
- Momart Discount Store Ltd. v. Rossi, 2016 WL 6567058, 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 32165(U) (Civ. Ct., NY Co., Housing Part, July 18, 2016): http://www.courts.state.ny.us/Reporter/pdfs/2016/2016_32165.pdf (granting tenant's motion for a stay pending outcome of Loft Board proceedings, and refusing to condition the stay on the payment of use and occupancy given the lack of a certificate of occupancy for the building)
- 49 Bleeker, Inc. v. Gatien, 51 Misc.3d 152 (A), 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 50880 (U) (App. Term, 1st Dep't, 2016) : https://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2016/2016_50880.htm
- Matter of Stathis, OATH Index No. 0347/15 (July 12, 2016): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/15_cases/15-347.pdf (obtaining a recommendation of Loft Coverage and protected occupancy after an inquest hearing).
- Matter of Blessing, OATH Index Nos. 2313/15, 011/16, 0012/16, 0013/16, 0014/16, and 0015/16 (July 11, 2016): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/15_cases/15-2313md.pdf (obtaining partial summary judgment stating that the building is an IMD).
- Matter of Gatien, OATH Index Nos. 2121/13, 1033/14, and 2233/14 (May 13, 2016): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/13_cases/13-2121.pdf (obtaining a recommendation of Loft Coverage after trial holding that Petitioners are protected occupants).
- Warren Murray Prop. Owner, LLC v. Hexner, 2016 NY Slip op 50306 (U), 2016 WL 1060805 (Civ. Ct., NY Co., 2016): https://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2016/2016_50306.htm (obtains stay of eviction proceeding pending outcome of contested Loft Board proceeding);
- Matter of 657-665 Fifth Avenue, OATH Index Nos. 1278/14, 1279/14 & 1280/14 (Oct. 30, 2015):
http://archive.citylaw.org/wp- content/uploads/sites/17/oath/ 14_Cases/14-1278MD.pdf ( obtains recommendation that prior rent regulation of a unit does not preclude it from counting for coverage under the Loft Law), incorporated by reference in Matter of 657-665 Fifth Avenue, OATH Index Nos. 1278/14, 1279/14 & 1280/14 (Dec. 14, 2015) (obtains recommendation of Loft Law coverage on summary judgment motion): http://archive. citylaw.org/wp-content/ uploads/sites/17/oath/14_ Cases/14-1278.pdf
- Matter of Ukai, OATH Index Nos. 1394/14 & 1220/15 (Oct. 20, 2015) http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-
content/uploads/sites/17/oath/ 14_Cases/14-1394.pdf (obtains recommendation of Loft Law coverage after trial; ALJ rejects application of primary residence standard to determining protected occupant status, but holds that even if applied, one of the applicants is protected)
- Matter of Doris, OATH Index Nos. 2542/14 & 2543/14 (July 10, 2015) (holding that lot line windows do not preclude Loft Law coverage): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/14_Cases/14-2542.pdf
- Matter of Kusyk v New York City Dept. of Bldgs., 130 A.D.3d 50913 N.Y.S.3d 431 (2015): http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-first-department/2015/112036-11-13165-13164.html (holding that certificate of occupancy for former Loft Law building should be amended to reflect tenants’ legal use of their apartment)
- Matter of Behlke, OATH Index No. 153/15 (Nov. 12, 2014), adopted in part, remanded, Loft Bd. Order No. 4348 (Jan. 15, 2015) (holding that Loft Law filing deadline does not apply to claims for protected occupant status): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/15_cases/15-153.pdf
- Matter of Gallo, OATH Index No. 2401/13 (Oct. 10, 2014), adopted in part, rejected in part, Loft Board Order No. 4349 (Jan. 15, 2015): http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/13_Cases/13-2401.pdf (obtained, after trial, Loft Law coverage for a three floor building in DUMBO)
- Herrera v. Rossmil Assocs., L.P., 2014 WL 3421056 (N.Y. Sup.) (Trial Order) (Sup. Ct., NY Co., 2014) (holding that, in connection with tenants’ group rent overcharge action, landlord was stayed from commencing any eviction proceedings against tenants and that tenants did not have to sign any renewal leases pending outcome of lawsuit)
- Herrera v. Rossmil Assocs., P., 2015 WL 740899 (N.Y. Sup.) (Trial Order) (Sup. Ct., NY Co. 2015) (holding that pursuant to RPL § 234, landlord may be liable for tenants’ attorneys fees incurred in connection with group rent overcharge action)
- Matter of Tenants of 107-109 West 28th Street (2014) (negotiated landmark settlement of a threatened DHCR demolition proceeding resulting in $5.2 million buyout of four rent stabilized tenants)
- Matter of 135-139 Plymouth St., OATH Index Nos. 1871/12-1896/12, 1898/12-1901/12, 1053/13-1054/13, 1409/13 (Feb. 5, 2013) (granting contested motion to withdraw Loft Board coverage application without prejudice): http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/12_Cases/12-1871.pdf
- Stellweg v. Welch, 2013 WL 6702832 (Sup. Ct., NY Co., Dec. 13, 2013) (holding that co-tenant was required to pay tenant portion of rent arrears and ongoing rent): http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2013/2013-ny-slip-op-33157-u.html
- Paragon Imaging Group, Ltd v. Scandia Realty Ltd. Partnership, 2013 WL 6902212, 2013 N.Y. Slip Op. 33281 (U) (Sup. Ct., NY Co., 2013): http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2013/2013-ny-slip-op-33281-u.html
- DiCostanzo v. Jeffrey Ween & Assoc., 35 Misc.3d 148 (A), 954 N.Y.S.2d 758 (App. Term, 2d Dep’t, 2012) http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-term-second-department/2012/2012-ny-slip-op-51080-u.html
- Tribeca 103 LLC v. Torreano and Panas, 2012 WL 12524201 (Civ. Ct., NY Co., 2012) (dismissing failure to renew rent stabilized lease holdover on grounds that Rent Guidelines Board long term vacancy allowances to not apply to former Loft Law units)
- Matter of 22 CPS Owner, LLC, DHCR Admin. Rev. Dkt. No. YJ410031RO (Jan. 13, 2012) (holding that luxury deregulation under the Rent Stabilization Law is inapplicable to tenant who became stabilized solely by virtue of the receipt of J51 tax benefits)
- 22 CPS Owner LLC v. Carter, 84 A.D.3d 456 (1st Dep't, 2011)
- Green 333 Corp. v. Kwinter, 27 Misc.3d 1225 (A) (Civ. Ct., NY Co., 2010) (dismissing holdover petition for failure to sign an initial lease upon transition of tenant's apartment from Loft Law to Rent Stabilization Law coverage on the grounds that the Rent Stabilization Code does not permit eviction for refusal to sign an unlawful initial lease)
- Yes to 722 and Let's Play at Her House: Loft Law with Michael Kozek
- Tenants and Neighbors, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, with Michael McKee: Tenants & Neighbors With Michael P. Kozek, Esq
- Loft Law and Order, Bel-Air, with Giovanni Muniz: MP3
- The Case for Hiring a Lawyer, J. Plambeck, New York Times (Sept. 29, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/realestate/the-case-for-hiring-a-lawyer-getting-started.html
- The Art of Digging In, P. Green, New York Times (April 24, 2013): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/greathomesanddestinations/the-art-of-digging-in.html
- Resolve to Get Along (and Not Get a Lawyer), The Cooperator New York (September 2013): http://cooperator.com/article/resolve-to-get-along-and-not-get-a-lawyer/full#cut
- How the Loft Lost its Soul: The condominiumization of the warehouse dream, K. Chayka, com/reform (Nov. 18, 2014): https://medium.com/re-form/how-the-loft-lost-its-soul-98766ebbe258
- Buying Apartment Buildings in New York and Beyond in a Strategic Bet, J. Morrissey, New York Times (April 1, 2015): http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/business/smallbusiness/buying-apartment-buildings-in-new-york-and-beyond-in-a-strategic-bet.html
- Loft Tenants Get Another Shot at Legalization Their Homes, A. Zimmer, DNAinfo (July 8, 2015): http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150708/williamsburg/loft-tenants-get-another-shot-at-legalizing-their-homes
- How Habitat for Humanity Went to Brooklyn and Poor Families Lost Their Homes, M. Rochabrun, ProPublica (April 1, 2016): https://www.propublica.org/article/habitat-for-humanity-brooklyn-bedford-stuyvesant-poor-lose-homes
- Habitat for Humanity came to Bedford-Stuyvesant and many longtime residents got pushed out, leaving some homeless, M. Rochabrun, New York Daily News (April 1, 2016): http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/habitat-humanity-bed-stuy-pushed-tenants-article-1.2585436
- 'Last Sun Umbrella Factory' in NYC Wants Williamsburg Artists Out, DNAInfo (April 18, 2016): https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160418/east-williamsburg/last-sun-umbrella-factory-nyc-wants-williamsburg-artists-out
Mr. Kozek is a regular contributor to the New York Times “Ask Real Estate” column:
- Buying an Energy Hog, New York Times (March 23, 2014) (discussing responsibility for water damage in a cooperative): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/realestate/buying-an-energy-hog.html
- Dealing with Barking Dogs: Questions About Noise, Appliances and Common Charges, New York Times (July 6, 2014) (discussing rent stabilized tenant’s right to install a dish-washer): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/realestate/questions-about-noise-appliances-and-common-charges.html
- Renovating a Kitchen as a Renter: Questions About Renovations, Mortgage Servicing and Building Management, New York Times (July 20, 2014) (discussing whether a rent stabilized tenant has a right to renovate a kitchen): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/realestate/questions-about-renovations-mortgage-servicing-and-building-management.html
- Summer in a Hot, Stuffy Bedroom, New York Times (June 28, 2015) (discussing whether a rent stabilized tenant has a right to air conditioning): http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/realestate/summer-in-a-hot-stuffy-bedroom.html
- Can I Break My Lease Over Subway Noise?, New York Times (March 19, 2016) (discussing breaking a lease due to subway noise and vibrations):
- When Mouse-Proofing Fails, New York Times (March 26, 2016) (discussing seepage of odors between apartments): http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/realestate/when-mouse-proofing-fails.html?_r=0
- What Can I Do About Feral Cats?, New York Times (May 7, 2016) (discussing tenants' rights to security): http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/realestate/what-can-i-do-about-feral-cats.html
Mr. Kozek maintains a blog (nyctenantlawyer.blogspot.com) posting articles regarding real estate litigation and tenant advocacy, wherein he has published several articles relating to such issues as the 2010 amendment to the New York City Loft Law, and the 2011 extension of the rent regulation laws.
Mr. Kozek is a regular volunteer at the Housing Conservation Coordinator's free Monday night legal clinic, and as a member of the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has represented numerous artists pro bono.
Areas of Practice
- Loft Law
- Real Estate Law
- Landlord-Tenant Law
- Art Law
- Trusts & Estates
- Foreclosure Defense
- Land Use & Zoning
- New York, 2009
- Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York - 2009
- Honors: Member, Moot Court Honor Society
- Honors: 2008 Philip C. Jessup Int'l Law Moot Court Competition & CALI Award Winner
Professional Associations & Memberships
- New York State Bar Association, Real Property Law Section, Member
- New York County Lawyers Association, Real Property Law Section, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- New York City Bar Association, Member