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Old 07-14-2009, 04:14 PM
 
4 posts, read 19,155 times
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First off, I want to say that I just found these forums, which seem to be absolutely great! I'm hoping someone with some knowledge on renting regulations can help me out.

I'm renting the upstairs portion of a 2-level home (which I now suspect is not being rented out legally). The landlord recently advised me that he needed to temporarily remove our stove for a town inspection. Now, the landlord advised me that he must also temporarily remove our sink for the inspection. When I pressed for some more information (including asking whether I should be looking for a new apartment), I was told that the inspection is occurring because he was trying to obtain "new permits," and that I had no need to be looking for a new apartment.

The landlord is a very nice guy, and I've had no problems with the him in the past, so I'm inclined to believe him when he says that I need not be ready to move out; however, I'm trying to understand what type of "permits" would require the stove and sink to be removed for an inspection. Logic suggests that if the apartment is illegal and they were trying to get permits to make it legal, the presence of a stove and sink would not be a problem. What other type of "permit" could he be talking about?

I'm suspecting that the apartment is illegal and someone may have reported it, and he doesn't want to tell me that (complete speculation on my part). Anyone with a little more knowledge have any input? Thanks so much.
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Nassau, Long Island, NY
16,408 posts, read 31,545,936 times
Reputation: 7307
The apartment is illegal and your landlord is removing the amenities (stove, sink) because he is hoping to fool the inspector into believing that he is not renting the apartment out to anyone. Your landlord is lying to you, because, as you suspected, if he was trying to get permits he would not hide the stove and sink. What are you supposed to do with your belongings? Hide all of them? How are you supposed to survive without your stove and sink?

As for whether you should look for a new place, I don't know. What township is the apartment in? Some are strict and will have you evicted ASAP and some will let illegal landlords fool around endlessly and not do anything to them or their tenants but make half-hearted inspections. Do you have a separate gas/electric meter and pay your own utilities? On LI, that is mandatory for a legal apartment (except possibly in the case of mother/daughter homes, but since you are not a close relative of the landlord, it wouldn't be legal for you to live in a m/d apartment anyway). How long have you lived there? If you just moved in recently and the neighbors are already calling the authorities, it doesn't look good. Do you park your car in front of anyone's house except the one where you live? Believe it or not, I think the main reason people report illegal rentals is because they take umbrage at tenants parking in front of "their house." If it's been reported once, it will be reported again, especially if you are "annoying" anybody by parking in front of their house (no they don't own the street, but some people think they should). Personally, I would prefer to live in a legal apartment and avoid the hassles. Your landlord is greedy and is cheating the rest of us taxpayers by not paying his fair share of property taxes and using more services than he should because he has his house loaded up with more than should occupy it legally.

PS: If you look for a new apartment and want a legal one this time, avoid any advertisements that say "ALL UTILITIES INCLUDED" because that is illegal on LI.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:37 PM
 
Location: NY
1,416 posts, read 5,367,227 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyT91 View Post
I'm suspecting that the apartment is illegal and someone may have reported it, and he doesn't want to tell me that.
Your suspicion is probably 100% correct. If he was going for a "permit" (i.e., to make your apartment legal) he would not be taking the plumbing and electrical stuff OUT. Plumbing and electrical are the two things that need to be inspected FOR a permit. If he was truly going for a CC (Certificate of Compliance) then there would be no need to remove the stove and sink; the inspector would just check them out the way they currently exist.

I'm not saying that your landlord is a lowlife or anything like that. He's paddling like crazy trying to avoid the expense of making your apartment legal AND the subsequent increase in property taxes that would entail.

It does sound as if someone on the block 'snitched' to the Town about your apartment. It may well not even been anything you did (such as parking); it might simply be that one of your landlord's neighbors has been just looking for a chance to give him grief - for whatever reason - and since he has been seeing your car, comings and goings, etc, he now has one.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:12 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
21,569 posts, read 32,787,946 times
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agree with both of the above. somebody turned hiim in, and now he's trying to make it look like it's "just an upstairs" - next he'll be asking you to make yourself scarce when the inspector comes.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Suffolk County, NY
874 posts, read 2,708,449 times
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I doubt someone "ratted" him out since to my knowledge the inspector will not let the landlord know he is coming in advance. I know the apartment is illegal since as everyone else has already stated; he would not be needing to remove the stove if it was not illegal. My guess would be that he is trying to have some sort of renovation done and is going to have no choice but to have an inspector come for whatever it is he is looking to do.

Now that I am thinking about it I suppose someone could have "ratted" on him and perhaps someone whom is friendly with your landlord heard of another neighbor whom called up and gave you landlord a "heads up". In any case, the apartment is definitely illegal.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:41 PM
 
4 posts, read 19,155 times
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Thanks for all of the responses - it is greatly appreciated. I wanted to address some of the questions/comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Love_LI_but View Post
What are you supposed to do with your belongings? Hide all of them? How are you supposed to survive without your stove and sink?
The LL swears that everything will be put back in on Friday. I actually spoke with him again today, and it sounds to me like the inspector came yesterday (our stove was removed on Monday) and told him there couldn't be a sink. So the LL was going to remove the sink today (he may have done so already), the inspector is coming back again tomorrow, and then everything will be put back on Friday. Taking this into consideration, it sounds like the inspector is just going to "rubberstamp" the whole thing OR the LL is telling the inspector that the stove and sink are staying out, even though they're being put back in on Friday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Love_LI_but View Post
As for whether you should look for a new place, I don't know. What township is the apartment in? Some are strict and will have you evicted ASAP and some will let illegal landlords fool around endlessly and not do anything to them or their tenants but make half-hearted inspections. Do you have a separate gas/electric meter and pay your own utilities? On LI, that is mandatory for a legal apartment (except possibly in the case of mother/daughter homes, but since you are not a close relative of the landlord, it wouldn't be legal for you to live in a m/d apartment anyway). How long have you lived there? If you just moved in recently and the neighbors are already calling the authorities, it doesn't look good. Do you park your car in front of anyone's house except the one where you live? Believe it or not, I think the main reason people report illegal rentals is because they take umbrage at tenants parking in front of "their house." If it's been reported once, it will be reported again, especially if you are "annoying" anybody by parking in front of their house (no they don't own the street, but some people think they should). Personally, I would prefer to live in a legal apartment and avoid the hassles. Your landlord is greedy and is cheating the rest of us taxpayers by not paying his fair share of property taxes and using more services than he should because he has his house loaded up with more than should occupy it legally.
I've only been in the apartment for 3 1/2 months. I found out from another neighbor that the LL was renting the house out for about 10 years, then tried selling it after the tenants left, couldn't sell it for what he wanted, and then started renting it out again.

The apartment is in the Town of Oyster Bay.

There IS a separate electric meter and I DO pay my own utilities.

I've actually been very courteous re: only parking in front of the LL's house for this very reason. I've probably parked in front of a neighbor's house 2 or 3 times total over the last 3 1/2 months.

And I now understand what you're saying re: the LL being greedy. This was the first apartment I ever rented on LI and honestly didn't give the whole "illegal apartment" thing any thought until recently (I also assumed that since the LL was going through a broker, the broker would only be renting out LEGAL apartments....I guess I was wrong).


Quote:
Originally Posted by totallyfrazzled View Post

I'm not saying that your landlord is a lowlife or anything like that. He's paddling like crazy trying to avoid the expense of making your apartment legal AND the subsequent increase in property taxes that would entail.

It does sound as if someone on the block 'snitched' to the Town about your apartment. It may well not even been anything you did (such as parking); it might simply be that one of your landlord's neighbors has been just looking for a chance to give him grief - for whatever reason - and since he has been seeing your car, comings and goings, etc, he now has one.
Quick, related question, and please forgive my ignorance. Are there towns on LI where a LL doesn't even have an OPTION to legally rent out their house? Just curious...

And yes, I see what you're saying re: this giving someone on the block an opportunity to complain. If someone did in fact complain, I definitely wouldn't take it personally - I know it's really a complaint against the LL and not myself, since I've been a very quiet, "boring" neighbor, if you know what I mean.


Quote:
Originally Posted by twingles View Post
agree with both of the above. somebody turned hiim in, and now he's trying to make it look like it's "just an upstairs" - next he'll be asking you to make yourself scarce when the inspector comes.
He hasn't mentioned that to us yet, but I'm definitely going to be on guard for any strange "requests" after all of this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Egobop View Post
I doubt someone "ratted" him out since to my knowledge the inspector will not let the landlord know he is coming in advance. I know the apartment is illegal since as everyone else has already stated; he would not be needing to remove the stove if it was not illegal. My guess would be that he is trying to have some sort of renovation done and is going to have no choice but to have an inspector come for whatever it is he is looking to do.

Now that I am thinking about it I suppose someone could have "ratted" on him and perhaps someone whom is friendly with your landlord heard of another neighbor whom called up and gave you landlord a "heads up". In any case, the apartment is definitely illegal.
As I eluded to above, it doesn't sound like the inspection was random, since the LL knew they were coming on Tuesday. It also doesn't sound like the inspection was hostile, since they came yesterday, told the LL they can't have a sink, and are coming back tomorrow to see if the sink is gone...

Thanks again everyone - I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the input.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Long Island
9,703 posts, read 21,510,680 times
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[quote=JohnnyT91;9778310]

(I also assumed that since the LL was going through a broker, the broker would only be renting out LEGAL apartments....I guess I was wrong).



Quick, related question, and please forgive my ignorance. Are there towns on LI where a LL doesn't even have an OPTION to legally rent out their house? Just curious...



As I eluded to above, it doesn't sound like the inspection was random, since the LL knew they were coming on Tuesday. It also doesn't sound like the inspection was hostile, since they came yesterday, told the LL they can't have a sink, and are coming back tomorrow to see if the sink is gone...

quote]


Brokers are not allowed to advertise/rent illegal apartments - they should always ask for the permit. As you apparently just experienced, that rule is not always followed

In order to rent an apartment on Long Island, the house has to be either a legal two-family house, in which case the owner does not have to occupy any part of the house, or the owner must have a permit to rent an accessory apartment, in which case the owner has to occupy part of the house. If you plan on renting in the future and aren't sure if an apartment is legal, you can always call the Town and ask...

With regard to the inspection, it's possible that your LL is planning on doing some work in/on the house and once the inspector is allowed on the premises, everything is fair game, so the LL probably tried to play it safe with your (what seems like an obviously illegal) apartment .
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Old 07-15-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Nassau, Long Island, NY
16,408 posts, read 31,545,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyT91 View Post
There IS a separate electric meter and I DO pay my own utilities.
Now this is interesting. If the apartment is not legal:

(1) Why would the landlord go to the expense of putting in a separate meter?

(2) How would the landlord get the utility company to go along with it and grant the house a separate meter for an illegal apartment?
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:00 PM
 
4 posts, read 19,155 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elke Mariotti View Post
In order to rent an apartment on Long Island, the house has to be either a legal two-family house, in which case the owner does not have to occupy any part of the house, or the owner must have a permit to rent an accessory apartment, in which case the owner has to occupy part of the house.
Thanks for this info - I appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I_Love_LI_but View Post
Now this is interesting. If the apartment is not legal:

(1) Why would the landlord go to the expense of putting in a separate meter?

(2) How would the landlord get the utility company to go along with it and grant the house a separate meter for an illegal apartment?
Looking over my original post, I realized that I left out a piece of information that probably explains (1), but not (2). The landlord does not live in the house - he rents the top-level of the house to me and the bottom-level of the house to another tenant. I'm thinking this explains the reasoning of going through the expense/hassle of putting in a separate meter. The LL has family that live next-door to me, so I see him fairly often as he's there visiting a lot, but he does not live in the house he's renting out.

As for (2), I don't know how he's gotten the utility companies like LIPA and Cablevision to go along with it, but he has.
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Old 07-15-2009, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Nassau, Long Island, NY
16,408 posts, read 31,545,936 times
Reputation: 7307
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyT91 View Post
Thanks for this info - I appreciate it.



Looking over my original post, I realized that I left out a piece of information that probably explains (1), but not (2). The landlord does not live in the house - he rents the top-level of the house to me and the bottom-level of the house to another tenant. I'm thinking this explains the reasoning of going through the expense/hassle of putting in a separate meter. The LL has family that live next-door to me, so I see him fairly often as he's there visiting a lot, but he does not live in the house he's renting out.

As for (2), I don't know how he's gotten the utility companies like LIPA and Cablevision to go along with it, but he has.
I am definitely surprised at LIPA adding a meter! You would think they would require all proper permits before running utility service. Cablevision and telephone companies have been known to go along with illegal apartments. (Also sometimes if the landlord lives in the house, they run the cable to the tenants and offer that as part of ALL UTILITIES INCLUDED).
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