Legal Aid Society


LAS Slams Landlord's Shocking Attempted Eviction of COVID-19 Patient

Ellen Davidson, a staff attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society, called the actions of an East Village landlord who evicted and padlocked 65-year-old restaurant worker Ryo Nagaoka’s apartment after he had been hospitalized with COVID-19 a violation of the law.

The landlord – claiming that he was unable to locate Nagaoka after he had been discovered incapacitated by the building’s super in late January – waited a mere three weeks before clearing out Nagaoka’s possessions, apparently under the assumption that he had expired, as reported by Gothamist.

Nagaoka returned to his Avenue D apartment Wednesday night to find nearly all of his possessions — aside from his piano and his pet tortoise — were gone.

“It’s not up to the landlord to decide if someone is coming back,” Davidson said. “You’re not allowed to clear out someone’s apartment because you think they’re not there . . . They’re referring to the property they stole from him as being ‘salvageable’ because they’re starting to build their case that his possessions weren’t up to their standards,” she added. “It’s shocking.”