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Old 04-02-2016, 07:07 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,806 times
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My apartment was deemed illegal by the NYC Department of Housing, we have a duplex apartment with the first floor on the ground level and the downstairs in the cellar of the building, ever since that revelation we have started witholding rent as we have discussed with a few lawyers that the LL can't collect rent on an illegal apartment. Now our landlord has sent us a 30-day lease termination which commences on April 30th, when our original lease was until June 30th. The LL has admitted that they are not coming after us for rent not paid, but they are threatening a holdover proceeding if we are still occupying the apartment after April 30th. Is this legal? They are attempting to end our lease due to their own negligence. I also must mention that we have a 3 yr old daughter and my wife is currently 7 months pregnant, we had not planned on moving originally but now we are being forced to. I am just wondering if we have any stance if and when we do go to court to get our security deposit back, and possibly moving expenses, as well as attorneys fees if we decide to use one (which we will if we go to court)or if there is further action we can take? Can we get back rent since we have lived there for 4 years? Another caviat is that the current LL bought the building 8 months ago and are saying that "they" did not rent us an illegal apartment, but the previous LL did. Unreal situation at this time in our lives, imagine walking into housing court with a 9 month pregnant wife saying that our LL is trying to evict us because they are renting us an illegal apartment. Thoughts?

Last edited by Steviez123; 04-02-2016 at 07:51 PM..
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Old 04-02-2016, 07:40 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 9,076,354 times
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Hire a lawyer.

Lacking that, contact Met Council on Housing and/or visit their legal clinic on Lafayette.
You could also talk to the lawyers at housing court.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:33 PM
 
Location: DMV Area/NYC/Honolulu
23,650 posts, read 11,556,121 times
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OP: not to sound like a jerk, but if the only reason you're withholding rent is because the apartment isn't legal, then I hope the landlord is able to remove you ASAP. The way I look at things is if the apartment is illegal and the tent a t isn't paying to live there, then the tenant has no right to live there. Of course, that's me talking, and not the law.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:40 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,806 times
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I have a right to live there because my original lease ran through June 30th, the LL has the obligation to keep the apartment I live in or any apartment habitable, if the apartment is illegal then they are not living up to their side of the lease, which in turn makes our lease null and void, which means I have no obligation to pay rent. I am looking to see if I can take further action against the landlord for them illegally attempting to evict me.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:46 PM
 
25,877 posts, read 19,054,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steviez123 View Post
My apartment was deemed illegal by the NYC Department of Housing, we have a duplex apartment with the first floor on the ground level and the downstairs in the cellar of the building, ever since that revelation we have started witholding rent as we have discussed with a few lawyers that the LL can't collect rent on an illegal apartment. Now our landlord has sent us a 30-day lease termination which commences on April 30th, when our original lease was until June 30th. The LL has admitted that they are not coming after us for rent not paid, but they are threatening a holdover proceeding if we are still occupying the apartment after April 30th. Is this legal? They are attempting to end our lease due to their own negligence. I also must mention that we have a 3 yr old daughter and my wife is currently 7 months pregnant, we had not planned on moving originally but now we are being forced to. I am just wondering if we have any stance if and when we do go to court to get our security deposit back, and possibly moving expenses, as well as attorneys fees if we decide to use one (which we will if we go to court)or if there is further action we can take? Can we get back rent since we have lived there for 4 years? Another caviat is that the current LL bought the building 8 months ago and are saying that "they" did not rent us an illegal apartment, but the previous LL did. Unreal situation at this time in our lives, imagine walking into housing court with a 9 month pregnant wife saying that our LL is trying to evict us because they are renting us an illegal apartment. Thoughts?

Sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it as well.


You state that you're withholding rent because the apartment is illegal from one side of your mouth, then with the other questioning LL's right to bring a holdover proceeding seeking termination of your (illegal) tenancy with the other.


Your LL is or will bring a holdover case because he cannot (as you already know) sue for nonpayment of rent because the apartment is not legal. First step in that procedure is to send a 30 day termination notice.


Regardless of when you "planned" to move you will need to do so now. Even in the best outcome and the court or LL allows you to remain until your lease ends in 60 days, the apartment is *ILLEGAL* and thus the property owner cannot continue to allow you to live there. He or she certainly isn't going to do so rent free which pretty much is the situation.


Two words; start packing... You've had several months of living rent free, hopefully you've saved that money to put towards finding a new apartment. Which you *SHOULD* have been doing all along once you found out your current one is not legal.


As for back rent one assumes you would need to go after the original landlord since that is to who you paid the funds. You've not paid rent to the new owner so there is nothing to recover.


At this point there is nothing you can do; no judge can force a LL to make an illegal apartment legal, nor can the LL continue allowing you to live in same because of that reason. Simply put you've got to go.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:54 PM
 
7 posts, read 17,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steviez123 View Post
I have a right to live there because my original lease ran through June 30th, the LL has the obligation to keep the apartment I live in or any apartment habitable, if the apartment is illegal then they are not living up to their side of the lease, which in turn makes our lease null and void, which means I have no obligation to pay rent. I am looking to see if I can take further action against the landlord for them illegally attempting to evict me.
I don't have the lease in front of me but I'll be shock if there was not a provision that would allowed the building owner to end the lease with proper notice. Had an aunt that went through a similar situation. Internet searches and somebody at legal aid said that a tenant can't recoup paid rent. Maybe a good lawyer can get better result but I doubt it. But tenant does not have to pay during the eviction process which can last half a year. If you don't move by the end of this month, landlord will serve you with papers for a court date which will most likely be in late may or early june. Then at that date both sides will settle on a final move out date (and perhaps other stipulations, like covering moving expenses). If you don't the judge can give you anywhere between 1-6 more months. But city does not want people in illegal apartment. It most likely be the 3 months. That is what my aunt got while living in an illegal basement. A lawyer would be able to postpone the initial court date, giving you another month.
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:57 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,806 times
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This revelation occurred in February, we started withholding rent (to the present owner) in March. The present owner had collected rent for 6 months prior to us finding out the apartment was illegal.

Last edited by Steviez123; 04-02-2016 at 10:33 PM..
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:13 PM
 
25,877 posts, read 19,054,906 times
Reputation: 19010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steviez123 View Post
I have a right to live there because my original lease ran through June 30th, the LL has the obligation to keep the apartment I live in or any apartment habitable, if the apartment is illegal then they are not living up to their side of the lease, which in turn makes our lease null and void, which means I have no obligation to pay rent. I am looking to see if I can take further action against the landlord for them illegally attempting to evict me.



Contracts for illegal actions are voidable. This is why you do not have to pay rent for your illegal apartment. OTOH because the lease (contract) is for an illegal action (renting of an apartment not deemed legal by NYC), the LL can and is seeking to remove you. The various attorneys that told you to withhold paying rent because the apartment is illegal should have advised you of *EVERYTHING* that comes with that designation.


It is only because of New York's pro tenant laws that the LL is having to give you thirty days notice and possibly turn to the courts to remove you from an apartment that isn't legal.


Again the apartment has been deemed illegal by NYC. The LL has no choice but to remove you or he will face significant penalties. Indeed your continuing tenancy creates a liability for the property owner from the time said apartment was deemed illegal until you vacate the premises. His only defense against such claims was that proceedings were commenced to remove you from the unit; hence the 30 day notice.


You've had nearly a year of not paying rent if I understand correctly. Dragging this out another two months will give you more time living rent free but won't alter the fact you've go to move. April 30th or June 30th it doesn't matter....
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Old 04-02-2016, 10:21 PM
 
5 posts, read 6,806 times
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We have only withheld rent for 1 month at this point not 1 year.

Last edited by Steviez123; 04-02-2016 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 04-02-2016, 11:07 PM
 
25,877 posts, read 19,054,906 times
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http://dolgettalaw.com/pdf/2013-02-i...apartments.pdf


http://nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housi...lapartment.pdf


http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf...land_judg.html
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