In this Small Claims arbitration case before me, two sisters, Felicia and Marianne Pernod, are suing Marsha Green for $2,800.
The case involved an apartment tenancy and a phony sublease, an eviction and a lot of shouting.
The Misses Pernod speak mostly French and some halting English. They testified together, stumbling over and correcting each other in French, English and what must have been their own private sister language.
They sounded like young French actresses, which in fact they were. They came to New York just last week, to start their theatrical careers.
They were living in a downtown hotel, and were going to auditions.
They saw a printed advertisement in a local newspaper for a furnished studio apartment. It directed them to a real estate office in a small building in downtown New York City.
There they met Marsha Green, the defendant in this case, who showed them the studio apartment in that building.
The sisters liked it, and Ms. Green offered them a one year lease at $700 per month. They accepted it at once, plus one months’ security, and they paid Ms. Green in cash on the spot.
Ms. Green told the Pernod sisters that the apartment’s tenant, a Ms. Gilbert, was away in Europe, but that she could sublet the apartment to them for her.
The Misses Pernod lived in the apartment for three months, paying rent in cash to Ms. Green each month, until one day they found a notice of eviction pinned to the apartment door.
Panicked, they went downstairs to the rental office and met the building’s owner (I will here call him “Harry”). Harry said that he had rented their apartment to someone else two weeks earlier; that Green had quit her job at that moment, after admitting to him that she had rented the apartment to the sisters Pernod.
Harry denied knowing anything about the Pernods or their lease.
The sisters promptly moved out, and sued Ms. Green in Small Claims Court.
The Pernods now want an award against Ms. Green for $2,800, for the three months rent plus their $700 security deposit.
Ms. Green swore that Harry knew of the matter, that she paid him all of the money, and that she was therefore not responsible to the Pernods.
To see my decision, click on the link below – Decision