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New York Landlord/Tenant Law Blog

Landlord accused of multiple violations, says tenants

It feels like every day we hear of another instance of a landlord taking advantage of a tenant. Upon first glance, it may appear that landlords have the upper hand when it comes to these negotiations and, unfortunately, many landlords, in an effort to make more money, take advantage of their tenants and try to bully or bribe them into accepting undesirable or illegal conditions.

This appears to be the case for tenants of a building in the Bronx who claim their landlord is neglecting his duties to maintain their homes. According to a city councilman, the landlord is assuming that tenants are not aware of their rights and thus can be taken advantage of.

Manhattan landlord facing multiple charges

A notorious landlord in New York City was recently hit with multiple charges including forgery, grand larceny and additional related charges following an investigation into multiple reports of neglect and unsafe conditions of his rental properties.

The landlord, who owns multiple properties in both Queens and Manhattan, first attempted to obtain a $5 million mortgage for another 10 unit building, but submitted fake rent-roll information and forged leases to the bank in charge of approving the loan. According to real estate records, he purchased the previous property in 2014 for $6.9 million dollars.

NY Supreme Court ruling helps keep rent costs in check

A recent ruling was made by New York Supreme Court Judge Debra James regarding a suit filed by the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents owners of approximately one million apartments in New York. The association went to court against the Rent Guidelines Board, who had stopped rent increases two years in a row.

The board, consisting of nine members chosen by Mayor Bill de Blasio, and has been drawing the ire of landlords in the city for putting on multiple rent freezes to help protect tenants and lessen rising prices of real estate in the city. The entity is responsible for making the determination on how much leases can go up in a given year.

What eviction protection do New York renters have under the law?

Renting in New York can be a convenient way to live without having to worry about the expenses and upkeep that goes along with owning a home. However, there are times when there could be a dispute between landlord and tenant that leads to an attempted eviction. Understanding what constitutes an illegal eviction and what eviction protection a tenant is accorded under the law is imperative when there is a dispute.

If a tenant has a lease, there is protection from eviction while the lease is in effect if the tenant has not violated it, housing codes or laws. Whether the apartment is regulated or unregulated, there must be formal notice from the landlord as to the decision to evict the tenant. If the tenant does not vacate by the required date, the landlord has two options to pursue eviction. First, there can be a summary non-payment court proceeding to remove a tenant who has not paid the rent that was agreed upon when it was due and for the landlord to receive the outstanding rent. Second, there can be a summary holdover proceeding to evict a tenant if there has been a significant violation like using the property for illegal activities or the tenant staying beyond the terms of the lease without approval.

What are my housing rights as an undocumented immigrant?

The issue of immigrants of uncertain status isn't one that affects New York alone. All across the country, there are individuals lacking proper documentation. Anxiety about being deported, separated from family, facing eviction or landlord harassment has surely always been present, but it's clearly at an all-time high these days.

Who is not aware of news about stepped up action by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials? Just last month, ICE reportedly zeroed in on a few neighborhoods on Staten Island, arresting 41 people. Housing organizing advocates say the moves have effectively driven worried tenants deeper into the shadows, afraid to step foot outside their apartments. They need to know that being undocumented does not mean they are without legal protections.

Chemical sprays: A new landlord low to oust stabilized tenants?

There doesn't seem to be any length to which some New York landlords won't go to try to get the most out of their properties. Tenant turnover, especially in rent stabilized situations, is one way it can happen. Anyone who has lived in the city can probably share a story apparent landlord harassment. For the sake of protecting the home, renters should seek the help of an experienced attorney to advocate on behalf of their rights.

The history of shady landlord actions is long. Strategies on record include subtle-but-still-illegal strong-arm tactics like pressing tenants to accept low-ball buyouts. Indeed, the law provides a long list of actions that fit the definition of harassment. All can be summed up this way, however. It's illegal for an owner or his or her agent to engage in conduct that disturbs the "privacy, comfort, peace, repose or quiet enjoyment" of a tenant's housing.

Automatic Papers to Help Protect Your Rights

If you're being evicted and missed a court date or didn't answer legal papers you received, the landlord will get a default judgment. This document allows the landlord to evict you under court order, and a City Marshal's Notice will follow. Fortunately, there is something you can still do that may help to preserve your tenancy. Go here at the Law Help Interactive site.

Get a Loft Lawyer

Without knowing it, you may be living in a loft. Lofts are numerous in pockets of New York City. Protections that are similar, but not identical, to rent regulations applying to apartments, cover loft tenancies. Whether or not loft laws apply can make a big difference in the outcome of court proceedings. Loft Laws concern buildings that were formerly used for manufacturing, warehousing, or commercial purposes, and not residentially. Under the latest amendments to the law, three or more units must have been used for living space in twelve months out of the two year period between January 2008 and December 2009. If questions about your living in an apartment of this kind arise, find an experienced tenants' attorney who has actually handled loft cases in court and at the Loft Board.

Speed Is Important If You're Sick, Have Assets and are Divorcing

Up until the time your divorce decree is finalized, your spouse can legally inherit a martial share of your estate if you die. For those who are older or ill, this can pose a problem for heirs. When an individual is in the process of divorce and dies before it's complete, the spouse inherits the marital share, even if a Will specifies it should go to others. A crafty husband or wife who knows that a spouse is very ill and may pass away before a divorce is consummated might attempt to delay the decree, in hopes of gaining estate assets. This is just one of the reasons why when you decide to divorce, it's generally advantageous to complete the process as expeditiously as possible. Needless to say, being acrimonious and getting involved in bitter litigation do not speed things along. If you want to divorce but are not well, and have something to leave to your kids or others, consult your lawyer about a strategy to get the process done and over with. 

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