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PATTON v. UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


November 30, 1955

Malia Irene PATTON, Plaintiff,
v.
The UNITED STATES of America, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

1. Malia Irene Patton, plaintiff, is sole owner of the property located at 140 The Boulevard Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to 1951, the said property was owned by Ernest F. M. Patton and Malia Irene Patton as tenants by the entireties. Ernest F. M. Patton died on February 22, 1954.

2. Plaintiff, acting in her own behalf and as attorney-in-fact for Ernest F. M. Patton, executed an agreement with the National Housing Agency, an agency of the United States of America, dated November 29, 1943, whereby the said Pattons leased the property aforesaid to the United States of America for a period of seven years, beginning December 8, 1943 and ending December 7, 1950.

 3. The lease was on the printed form prepared by the Federal Housing Administration. The lease provided for the payment of an annual rental of $ 40, plus assumption of a monthly mortgage payment of $ 65 during the term of the lease.

  4. The aforesaid lease was a part of the program to aid the war effort, whereby the Government, using public funds, leased and converted single family residential properties into multiple apartment units, and, after conversion, sublet to war workers the additional dwelling units so created. This program was advertised and plaintiff and her husband read some of the advertising material.

 5. Pursuant to the aforesaid lease, certain plans and specifications were submitted to the plaintiff for her approval in connection with the conversion of the property aforesaid into a two-family dwelling.

 6. The Pattons consented to the conversion as set forth in the plans and specifications.

 7. The conversion of the property was performed in accordance with the said plans and specifications, plus minor reasonable variations, and considerable repair; the work was completed in the Fall of 1944. Additional contracts were awarded as latent defects were found during the course of the conversion.

 8. After the property was converted, subtenants were put in possession of the first floor apartment at a rental of $ 65 per month and the second-third floor apartment at a rental of $ 68 per month, and during the term of the lease, the United States, as lessee sublet the newly created accommodations to various tenants.

 9. The lease contained the following covenant with respect to maintenance of the premises:

 '9. The Government, during the term of this lease, shall take good care of the Premises, and may make any and all repairs, both interior and exterior, necessary to keep the Premises in good order, condition, and repair, without the consent or approval of the Lessor. Upon the surrender of the Premises by the Government, it shall redecorate and or repaint the vacant portion of the interior thereof.'

 10. The plaintiff and her husband occupied the first floor apartment as subtenants of defendant from the Fall of 1948 to the termination of the lease, during which time Mr. Patton, his son, and son-in-law made extensive repairs, but the cost thereof was not proved.

 11. On December 7, 1950 the defendant vacated the demised premises and the plaintiff and her husband accepted possession as of that date.

 12. At the time of the execution of the lease, the dwelling on the premises was an eleven-room brick structure with front and rear porches. A 2-car garage was located in the rear adjacent to an alley which extended from The Boulevard Street to another alley which ran along the rear of the property. The house and garage were built about the year 1910 and had been acquired by the Pattons in 1930.

 13. At the commencement of the lease, the dwelling was in good structural condition, but it needed paint on the exterior and considerable repair on the interior due primarily to deterioration from age.

 At that time the 2-car garage was in a fair condition and usable but in need of exterior paint.

 14. During the term of the lease, the garage was not used to accommodate motor vehicles by any of the subtenants.

 15. During the term of the lease, the defendant expended the sum of $ 2,482.78 for necessary repairs.

 16. During the term of the lease very little in the way of repairs was done by the defendant to keep the garage wind and water tight; it was subject to vandalism and deterioration and fell into a dilapidated state. By the Fall of 1948 all the windows were out, the doors were jammed, part of the siding was gone, the internal panelling was dislodged and holes existed in the roof and floor. The shrubbery had grown up and encroached on the driveway in such a manner as to block access to the garage from the alley.

  17. The owners informed the defendant a short time prior to termination of the lease that they and the subtenants in the second floor apartment would be willing to vacate the premises in order to permit internal redecoration, but were informed by the defendant's representative that no redecoration would be done. 18. The items in need of repair at the termination of the lease or during the term thereof, and the cost of repairs required by the covenant are as follows: A. Garage $2500.00 B. Windows: (1) weatherstripping 30 windows at $12.00 each $360.00 (2) removing mastic and adjusting windows on 3 floors 162.50 522.50 C. Replace tile in second floor bathroom 180.00 D. Two steel pipe stan- chions in basement 70.00 E. Front door bell assembly 25.00 F. Repair of brick piers front and back porch 164.50 G. Hearth tile in living room 40.00 H. Decoration and paint- ing of interior: (1) First Floor (a) Dining Room 1. papering 53.25 2. painting woodwork 60.00 3. painting floor 37.80 (b) Living Room 1. papering 50.00 2. painting woodwork 45.00 3. painting floor 30.45 (c) Kitchen 1. painting walls 68.16 2. painting woodwork 45.00 (d) Music Room 1. papering 18.00 2. painting woodwork 30.00 3. painting floor 13.50 (e) Vestibule and hall 1. papering 76.00 2. painting woodwork 150.00 (f) Rear Bedroom and Bathroom No proof of damages (2) Second Floor (a) Rear Room -- right side 1. papering 58.00 2. painting woodwork 60.00 3. painting floor 40.80 (b) Rear Room -- left side 1. papering 32.00 2. paint woodwork 30.00 (c) Bathroom 1. painting 14.40 2. paint woodwork 22.50 (d) Front Room -- left side 1. papering 38.00 2. paint woodwork 45.00 3. paint floor 19.80 (e) Front Room -- right side 1. papering 50.00 2. painting woodwork 60.00 3. painting floor 31.50 (f) Hallway 1. papering 54.00 2. paint woodwork 90.00 3. paint floor 20.95 (3) Third Floor (a) Rear Room 1. papering 44.00 2. paint woodwork 45.00 3. paint floor 27.75 (b) Front Room 1. papering 44.00 2. painting woodwork 45.00 3. paint floor 27.75 (c) Other Room 1. papering 28.00 2. paint woodwork 22.50 3. paint floor 14.00 Total $1642.11

19551130

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