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Old 06-05-2013, 07:55 AM
4 posts, read 57,170 times
Reputation: 16


Hey there,

Just wondering if anyone could shed some light on this issue in my life regarding an illegal basement apartment!

For the past 8 months or so i have been renting out a basement apartment with no lease just a verbal agreement and month to month receipts of rent payments (boiler room included in my half of the apartment as the landlord split the basement into two apartments) in the Brooklyn area. Everything was running smoothly until in the month of March - i lost my job. I informed my landlord the same day that i had no means to pay him and that the money in my pocket that i had left was to put food in my fridge. After i explained that to him, he said that it was okay and that i could still live on the property until i found a new job. With that said, i found a new job towards the ending of March. I made a payment arrangement with my landlord to pay him for the month of March that i owed him and He went ahead and collected a first payment from me. However, when i tried to make a second payment with him he rejected it and told me i had by the end of June to pay him everything that i owed. Mind you, i didn't understand why he said that to me when it was only April

Since then, i have had numerous leaks, cracks in my walls due to leaks, mold, paint peeling off the ceiling and now, an infestation of maggots in between my window sil and flies in my home due to the garbage not being taken out properly in the back of the home (my half of the basement studio apartment faces the back of the house)

Now, my questions is ; I have informed my landlord of what has been going on and he has yet to even try and fix anything or taken a look at it. Can he legally evict me on his own? or would he need to go to the court? I am not from New York originally (from Florida) and really have little clue as to tenant rights in NYC. At this point, i just want to call 311 and report everything that is going on (threats from the landlord included) ; it's ridiculous.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:58 AM
Location: New York City
7,090 posts, read 5,461,831 times
Reputation: 4833
"You have no lease, you're trespassing. Get out or I'm going to call the police"
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:33 AM
4 posts, read 57,170 times
Reputation: 16
How is it trespassing when i have mail under my name being delivered to the house and rent receipts?
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:05 AM
Location: New York City
7,090 posts, read 5,461,831 times
Reputation: 4833
Is that what you're planning to tell him when he's chasing you with the mop handle?
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:34 PM
3,432 posts, read 3,500,683 times
Reputation: 3064
This isn't really worth the fight.

If he has no deposit, I'd just stop paying now and stay until the end of June and move out.
With no lease, and possibly no credit history from you I can't imagine he can do much.

Sounds like he just wants you out, and since it's his place- ultimately he's going to get you out.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:59 PM
Location: Wilmette, IL
420 posts, read 780,907 times
Reputation: 306
I agree with everyone else- you have no lease and there's very little legal recourse of what you can do. If I were you I wouldn't want to stay in an unlivable, gross apartment like that any longer anyway. In fact if city officials investigated the property they would probably shut the place down and make everyone move out since it sounds like a health hazard.

I'm going through a situation somewhat similar to this now; told the lady I was renting my room from I was struggling and she told me she'd lower the rent. I waited about 6 days before paying here and asking here when and what I should pay her. "You don't need to worry about that" Ok... wrote her a check for what I could afford. She left me a note yesterday saying she needed the rent this week plus what I owed her. I wrote her a check and emptied my bank account in the process since I didn't want any problems- not good. Thankfully I don't like the area anyway if they have a change of heart but with no apartment lined up it's a risky position to be in and is an unstable housing situation also.

Take time everyday to find a new room in a better apartment. Once you find it you should move out asap. If he want's you out then there's little you can do without a lease or written proof you have the right to live there.

From my experience get a written roommate agreement or lease at your next place since there won't be any confusion, misunderstandings, he said she said nonsense about payment. This will protect you and the person renting space in their place out to you.

Last edited by ehanson; 06-06-2013 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:17 PM
Location: Manhattan
20,039 posts, read 26,314,718 times
Reputation: 8938
Illegal apartment:
This is not rocket science and we have been through it many times.

Stop paying him and see what he does.

When he appears before a judge he will have "dirty hands."
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:42 PM
Location: NYPD"s 30th Precinct
2,420 posts, read 4,181,310 times
Reputation: 2445
If your apartment is indeed illegal, the landlord cannot collect rent on it in the first place, as he's breaking the law. You can simply stop paying rent, and challenge him to evict you. He'll eventually be successful, but it will take a good amount of time and cost him a significant amount of money in fines/possible renovations.

Note that apartments are illegal for a reason. I wouldn't suggest going that route necessarily, as if a fire breaks out or something, you're going to be in a very bad place.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:58 PM
8,750 posts, read 15,527,081 times
Reputation: 4168
Just because an apt is "illegal" does not mean it is not safe or not habitable. You can simply not have the proper COO, but otherwise the apt can be safe, have the proper means of egress, etc. So just because the apt it "illegal", doesn't mean the LL is not offering you a safe apt at a fair price.

IF the apt has only 1 means of egress (and does not have functioning sprinklers), or does not have a normal size, operable window in each room, THEN I would say stop paying rent and leave immediately. It isn't safe! However, if the apt has the 2 means of egress, normal size operable windows in each room, and all the other requirements for an apt (bathroom, kitchen, etc), what exactly is the problem? That it is technically illegal so you can take advantage of the LL?
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:02 PM
Location: First Hill, Seattle
5,449 posts, read 5,748,402 times
Reputation: 7157
Can't the LL really easily get an eviction via unlawful detainer if he wanted to? Thought all they have to prove is the tenant is currently in the residence and is not paying rent. Just because the LL may or may not have an illegal apartment doesn't mean he has to suffer the presence of someone freely living in it. All the court fighting about whether the place is illegal would take place after the eviction.

OP: either way, you need to get out of there. It sounds absolutely disgusting.
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