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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    5

    Default Tenant of an Illegal Apartment in New York

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: New York (NY) 2010


    Currently husband and wife in an apartment in Long Island, NY, Suffolk county
    Apartment is an addition to a house.
    Apartment has two rooms upstairs. Separate entrance.
    Bathroom with ventilation, no window.
    Mail distributed by other tenant; LL not on premises.

    Since discovering the apartment may be illegal (no separate electric, heating connected to other tenant) we want to move from this situation.

    There have been issues with floors, doors, and privacy.

    I have heard I may be locked out of the apartment since I do not have a valid lease for an illegal apartment ( my neighbors are separated from my apartment by a door in their kitchen.) Also, my apartment has no privacy and the other tenant has complained about regular noise levels in my apartment. They even knocked on the shared door late at night while I was in the kitchen washing dishes claiming it was making too much noise!

    Can I request that the LL pay for my moving expenses and I will not involve the authorities? Or is there no option but to do so?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Tenant of an Illegal Apartment in New York

    You can request anything...but what you state sounds a bit like extortion. As a Long Island landlord myself, I can tell you it would be much cheaper for the landlord to receive the small fine that Suffolk County gives out to landlords of illegal units.

    Understand that 85% of Suffolk apartments are illegal. 88% of Nassau apartments are illegal. The counties do not really do much about this problem due to the large shortage of affordable living space on the Long Island.

    Also...if you do decide to turn the landlord in...be prepared to move out quickly. The building departments in most towns will only give you 72 hours to vacate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Tenant of an Illegal Apartment in New York

    Thank you for the response. I am not searching for money, just a new apartment that is actually an apartment. Honestly, it feels like I live in someone else's kitchen.
    Now I believe I really need to get a lawyer if the idea seems to be extortion. Regardless of how many illegal apartments there are in Long Island, this is NOT an actual apartment. I know that there are homes renovated and there is adequate privacy, but I literally have NONE! My neighbor can hear regular bathroom usage in their kitchen!
    So, it would seem I must involve the authorities and my lawyer... I have the time and money to afford both. Any other suggestions?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Tenant of an Illegal Apartment in New York

    Since money and time are not an issue to you, why do you want to get the landlord to pay your moving expenses? Simply find another place that you like and try to work a deal with your current landlord to terminate whatever tenancy you have at no cost to either of you. If the landlord won't agree, just move out and let him/her decide if they want to try to sue you for breaking a lease on an illegal apartment. If you are sued, you appear to have plenty to put on the table in a countersuit.

    Next time, do a better job of inspecting the property before you lease it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    5

    Default Better Job Next time

    It is true, a better inspection would have been warranted. The apartment is all new, I have had no issues with mice and such. The problems with the apartment being illegal have come up when I had no heat in the winter because the other tenant is expected to pay the entire bill. There is an imbalance even on their part and that seems to be bleeding over into my situation.

    My concern, which does not seem to be gaining any respectful response, is that the apartment, being illegal, is having issues that I can not be held to since the "lease" is invalid. Or am I incorrect in assuming this? I have read that other states, e.g. New Jersey, have a law about LL renting out illegal apartments and not legally being able to collect rent. My moving suddenly may open me up to a lawsuit where my LL can sue for the collection of the rest of the rent. I am not unsympathetic to the LL's in this world or forum, I understand it is for a living that they rent out their homes, but there should be a standard of care for the property.

    Also, How was I to foresee that the utilities would not be in the LL name but the other tenant and that the floor would start to cave in?
    Mind you I have done repairs and aesthetic improvements to this apartment that I am not asking for money back on. Carpets, painting, etc...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    5

    Default Now Heating issues

    To add to my problem it is supposed to snow today, it was freezing last night. The other tenant has the utilities in their name and cannot afford to fill the heating oil one more time. They have asked the LL for help in paying the costs and LL states they "do not have it" according to other tenant. I have a child and will now be without heat on any cold days very soon.

    Does this change my situation at all?! I feel it is the LL responsibility to supply heat.

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