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Old 12-29-2009, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Confines of the 101 Precinct
19,084 posts, read 32,655,211 times
Reputation: 7563

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Quote:
Originally Posted by safina1 View Post
talking about illegal apts in NYC, an owner of a building told me that renting a basement is illegal. Is that true?
no its not true. renting a basement is legal; renting a cellar is illegal.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:46 PM
 
581 posts, read 547,641 times
Reputation: 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhFloor View Post
no its not true. renting a basement is legal; renting a cellar is illegal.
How about renting a basement in a private family house? I was looking for a basement in rego park and one of the people who owns a family house in the area told me that it is not legal to rent a basement.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:14 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,109 times
Reputation: 12
I have a basement rent a lady(now she has Mentel problem), how can I ask her to move? My basement is in my one family house, is it illegal to rent? If Building Dept know, what can I do and is there penalty?
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:36 AM
 
16 posts, read 360,019 times
Reputation: 56
An illegal apartment is illegal for a reason. There is no law that says a basement is legal and a cellar is illegal. Everything depends on what the Certificate of Occupancy says for the number of units in the building and the uses of those units. You need to check with the Department of Buildings for the Certificate. The city building codes are not arbitrary laws. There are many reasons why a basement (even more so a cellar) is dangerous to live in. Here is one huge reason: carbon monoxide poisoning. Cellars are structures which are more than 50% below surface level, that means they are huge repositories for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is orderless and very deadly. If a tenant in an illegal apartment becomes ill due to the apartment, the landlord is liable. If the tenant dies, which is likely with carbon monoxide, the landlord will be charged with manslaughter. This is one reason why cellar apartments can never be made legal. Basements apartments (which are more than 50% above surface level) can be made legal with many modifications. Another point to think about is that if a fire were to start in the basement, which is highly likely since none of the gas, plumbing, or electrical has been inspected by a code inspector nor has it been installed by a utility company, then the tenants in the legal units can sue the landlord. AND the landlord's insurance contract will be invalid because of the fraud he committed when he described his building to the insurance company (he definitely did not tell them about the illegal unit). Further, there is a case to be made that the landlord has been paying inappropriate property taxes, as he has been paying on a 4 unit building, instead of a 5 (for example). This is tax fraud. Then if there is a mortgage on the building, the lender is not going to be happy to find out that the building has been modified such that it has an illegal unit, thus voiding any insurance on it. Not having valid insurance is a breach of the mortgage agreement and reason for the lender to seize the property.

All illegal apartments should be reported to the Department of Buildings. You can do that by calling 311. If you can get pictures of the unit or other evidence, do so. Landlords will try every trick to avoid an inspector gaining access to the unit. Locks on doors, never answer notices, etc. At the end of the day, these landlords are putting peoples' lives at risk. The government and the public is pretty upset with Toyota because it made some faulty cars which killed some people. The same goes for these illegal apartments.

All illegal apartments should be remove by their landlords. The funny thing about this is that the landlord will have to get building permits to remove the illegal unit!! Or just do the removal illegally. If they remove the unit without permits, report them. The main reason to report them is that even when the unit has been removed, all of the reverse modifications to the electrical, plumbing, and gas will not have been inspected by an official. Do you want to live in a building where these utilities are not code inspected? A crime is a crime. Just because it is easy to get away with, does not mean it is not a crime. You may be surprised to know that NY has punishment of up to 1 year in prison for illegal apartments. $3000/day fines if the unit is occupied.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:39 PM
 
Location: nyc
18 posts, read 65,083 times
Reputation: 20
im looking for a place now, and i have been shown quite a few illegal basement apts.. the situations in these places are appalling, often the homeowners are Indian/Chinese. etc. One apt that said "studio" in craigslist was only a 46 sq foot room, i kid you not, there was no refrigerator in there, kitchen, etc. i would have to go outside of the door and use the bathroom down the hall, now mind you, how does one wash dishes, etc? when all you have is a bathroom.

To top it off next to this tiny room was boiler room, which i imagine would get quite hot, as it was steaming down there in the summer when i saw it. I don't know how this man justified renting out a 46 sq foot room with no kitchen facilities, no closets, etc for 800 bucks, but he did. Also not having a window can get quite depressing. I know they may be cheaper, but please be careful if/ when you decide to rent out a basement studio /illegal apt. when it floods, the basement floods, boilers do explode sometimes, etc. pipes get hot, etc. personally, i think its inhumane depending on the setup.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:31 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,171 times
Reputation: 10
i have a daughter who rented an apartment for 1450.00 a month and th landlord died and wife raised the rent to 1550.00 monthy and 25.00 late fee if not paid by the 5th of month. no lease and she does not want to put late fees on receipt can u give me some info. besides moving which we are planning to do
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:23 PM
 
Location: NY,NY
2,899 posts, read 8,303,258 times
Reputation: 2021
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhFloor View Post
this type of case is called an ejectment case.
the landlord loses the apartment and you lose your rent
simple as that. essentially its illegal money the LL is making off of you.
so you're not entitled to receive it back, since there's no way to prove that you didnt know the apartment was not illegal.
I'm sorry but the above is a mixed up bit of erroneous info.

First, owners of illegal apartments, by law, are not allowed to profit from their efforts. This is intended as a dis-incent.

Such, LLs can attempt to claim culpability on the part of the tenant; that the tenant was well aware of the apartment status. This is an argument that the tenant does not have 'clean hands'. Generally, courts do not reward complainants who do not have clean hands and/or have or share culpability.

This is a good defense, but w/n work in L&T court where the judges are well aware of the law, and the city's intent upon the law.

In civil court/small claims, it may be possible for a defending attorney to work such a defense against an ignorant/incompetent opponent and unknowing judge.

****

Moreover, once the apartment is proven as illegal, the burden of proof is no longer upon the tenant, but upon the LL. Essentially, the LL is presumed to have commited 'Fraud'. The law does not allow profitting from Fraud---PERIOD!

A tenant can sue for the entire rent paid. The question is whether the LL can pay. Most likely not, but can afford to pay for a defense. Most tenants cannot afford to litigate the matter, so in most cases a reasonable settlement is made.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:31 PM
 
Location: NY,NY
2,899 posts, read 8,303,258 times
Reputation: 2021
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeventhFloor View Post
no its not true. renting a basement is legal; renting a cellar is illegal.
Renting a basement is only legal when it meets the legal requirements. Not all basements do.
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Old 06-03-2011, 03:01 PM
 
Location: NYPD"s 30th Precinct
2,420 posts, read 4,192,998 times
Reputation: 2445
Quote:
Originally Posted by deborah crespo View Post
i have a daughter who rented an apartment for 1450.00 a month and th landlord died and wife raised the rent to 1550.00 monthy and 25.00 late fee if not paid by the 5th of month. no lease and she does not want to put late fees on receipt can u give me some info. besides moving which we are planning to do
Other than the owner not wanting to give a receipt for late fees, that all sounds pretty reasonable. A $100 increase in rent isn't crazy (how long had it been at $1,450?) and a $25 late fee after 5 days is pretty standard. Does your daughter plan on being late with the rent a lot?
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Old 11-08-2011, 11:20 AM
 
1 posts, read 929 times
Reputation: 10
It seems to me that there is a lot of misdirected suspicion and anger in a lot of these posts.

I recently read a report that found that not only do most landlords occupy the very same building they are renting out but that in most cases people rent from individuals of their own, same socioeconomic status. (Kind of makes sense, right? You're living in this illegal apartment because you're broke and desperately trying to hold on to some money; he's renting it out after fixing it up the best he can because he's broke and desperately trying to hold on to some money. Almost common sensical, I'd say). It said a good portion of landlords don't even have a h.s. diploma and that a good number are poor immigrants with very low incomes.

Alright already -- what's my point?

The way I see it, while a tenant living in an obviously dangerous situation, such as a cellar with no C0 monitors and inadequate means of egress -- especially a tenant who suddenly is getting kicked out because the existence of the apartment has come to someone's attention -- has really been put in in an extremely and obviously unjust situation, the very fact (on the other hand) that tenants would be here on this forum, mouths watering, wondering whether they can retroactively LIVE FOR FREE in a building that, odds are, the landlord was busting his a** to keep from falling apart, is pretty twisted.

The truth is, if housing costs (renting, exceeded in outrageousness only by owning) weren't so impossible for ordinary citizens in NYC, NOBODY (not landlords and not tenants) would be put in the position of existing in this essentially symbiotic relationship. (Isn't it telling that, as one person posted, "LLs can attempt to claim culpability on the part of the tenant; that the tenant was well aware of the apartment status."? Da*n straight. In most cases like these, the landlord is paying a fortune for the privilege of LIVING IN and MAINTAINING via his own sweat and tears, his own moldy-a** building -- and thus, at the same time, providing YOU a less than ideal but affordable place to live. But you want to call 311 on him. No wonder so many people want out of the business. That's what you get for not being filthy rich in NYC, I guess).

I gather from what I've read (see above) that it's not the average landlord who's corrupt, trying to rake in tons of bucks, and/or out to get anyone. It's the city with its system of requiring a $5000 permit every time anyone so much as wants to take a crap in his own house -- and then is all lined up to look for ways to fine people over things that have absolutely nothing to do with safety. (Look at other big, crowded cities that don't have all of these rules and fines. Why is it that there are other cities in the country where you can actually do work on your own house without having to pay bribes to city officials?) "The funny thing," one person wrote here, "...is that the landlord will have to get building permits to remove the illegal unit!! Or just do the removal illegally. ..The main reason to report them is that even when the unit has been removed, all of the reverse modifications to the electrical, plumbing, and gas will not have been inspected by an official. Do you want to live in a building where these utilities are not code inspected? ... $3000/day fines if the unit is occupied."

Seriously? Would anyone out there seriously THINK of trying to rent again from the landlord she just reported on in the first place, the one she's now trying to, on top of that, sue so that she will have lived for free for the past x years -- and then, on top of THAT, get that landlord sued for REMOVING the illegal unit (!) -- and then on top of THAT, try to get the poor homeowner fined for the state of his plumbing -- just because she doesn't "want to live in" a place like that, meaning, in fact, that she won't? (Now only the now bankrupt landlord can).

Maybe you could just let the poor man spend his last few months before bankruptcy living in his own feces in peace? Jeez.

Maybe, instead, we could concentrate our efforts on 1) keeping people out of airless cellars with no doors to the outside, 2) making it possible for ordinary people to rent or buy in this town without having to sell their children, and 3) fighting municipal greed?

-The Devil's Advocate
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