Is the landlord playing games
with your lease renewal?

When a lease is up for renewal it can be a vulnerable time for a tenant. Landlords who want to oust tenants from rent-regulated apartments sometimes try to turn the renewal into a dispute about a broken lease, with the tenant at fault. If you’re not careful about the way you handle renewing your lease, it’s possible to end up in court with your tenancy at risk.

These legal problems can arise at lease renewal time:

  • your landlord doesn’t send you the renewal lease papers
  • you send in the renewal lease but don’t receive a signed copy back
  • the landlord attempts to make unauthorized changes to your regulated lease
  • your landlord refuses to accept rent at renewal time
  • your rent checks are no longer cashed when your lease term ends
  • rent is accepted but the renewal lease is still never sent back to you
  • your landlord claims never to have received the renewal lease you sent and initiates eviction proceedings
  • the landlord rescinds “preferential rent” rates offered at the beginning of your tenancy, which you may still be legally entitled to
  • your building was converted to a co-op or condo and your lease won’t be renewed
  • you’re a senior citizen or disabled and your renewal rights are violated
  • you live in an “unregulated unit” that actually qualifies for rent-stabilized protections, but the landlord doesn’t renew the lease or demands too high a rent increase
  • there’s a dispute surrounding the renewal of a lease in your parent’s name, or other leaseholder with whom you have a family-type relationship, and you want succession rights
  • you’ve sublet your apartment to someone who doesn’t vacate as planned when the lease renews

These aren’t the only difficulties. When your lease is up for renewal, if you don’t act promptly in completing the appropriate documents, or have proof you sent them to the landlord in a timely manner, you could end up with a legal problem. Some landlords will take advantage of any opportunity to evict a regulated tenant. Or you may inadvertently give the landlord the option of either considering the lease renewed, and be on the hook for the rent when you’d planned to leave.

As one of New York City’s most experienced Tenant rights attorneys. Jeff McAdams has extensive experience in fighting against abusive or illegal landlord maneuvers, and helping his clients keep their apartments.

Lease renewal disputes can be very complex. Here are three special situations in which tenants benefit from the knowledgeable legal representation McAdams Law offers:

Lease Renewal Problems in Personal Use Suits:
When the Landlord Wants Your Apartment for Himself

Under current laws, the landlord has a right not to renew the lease to a rent-stabilized apartment if he or she intends to live there, or if the premises are for the use of a family member. Your first warning of this will probably be a “Golub Notice” served between 90 and 150 days before your lease expires, informing you that it won’t be renewed.

Personal use cases are often vigorously litigated. Depending on the particular facts of your situation, you may have rights that safeguard your ability to retain your apartment. For example, if you’re a senior citizen, you can’t be evicted without the landlord offering you similar accommodations in the same neighborhood at an equivalent rent. Or it may be possible to dispute the landlord’s good faith intention to actually convert the unit to personal or family use.

You can learn more about protecting your legal rights in a personal use lawsuit here.

The Non-Primary Residence Renewal Trap

Another landlord tactic that can be used to take your home away from you is to claim that it isn’t your primary residence. Under New York City’s rent-stabilization code, if it can be proved that your apartment isn’t where you primarily reside, you aren’t entitled to continuation of regulated protection and can be evicted. As with “personal use” cases mentioned above, tenants receive a Golub Notice, which says that when your lease term ends, you’ll have to leave.

Fortunately, Jeff McAdams has been very successful in defeating Golub notices and keeping his clients in their apartments. Landlords frequently bring these suits without sufficient factual proof to support their positions. McAdams Law has challenged many landlords to produce evidence of non-primary residency in court and has frequently prevailed for tenants.

If you are in a situation in which you will not be not living in your apartment for an extended period of time, or have other interests in real estate such as a vacation home or other property, you may be vulnerable to losing your lease. Call McAdams Law today for a free, brief initial phone consultation to find out about your rights.

You’ll find valuable information on winning a non-primary residence case in this section.

Lease Renewals and Succession Rights

In New York City, there are many instances of adult children living with parents, and individuals with family-type relationships residing together in rent-stabilized apartments. Frequently, a landlord tries to gain control of the unit once the primary leaseholder vacates.

In these situations, it’s not uncommon for a dispute to arise involving the lease renewal. For example, a parent may need to enter a nursing facility, leaving a son or daughter as sole occupant of the apartment. Or the primary leaseholder may move out, either before the lease is up or when it expires, and doesn’t sign the renewal documents. If you’re seeking succession rights in circumstances of this nature, you may be facing a court battle with the landlord about renewing the lease and retaining tenancy.

McAdams Law can help. Get more details here about guarding your rights in a succession dispute.

You’ll find these tips and articles Jeff has published to be very informative about lease renewal disputes and related matters…

Call Tenants’ attorney Jeff McAdams today for a FREE, brief initial phone consultation about protecting your lease renewal rights. You can reach him at 212-406-3145.

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McAdams Law
305 Broadway, Suite 610
New York, NY 10007
212-406-5145
Fax: (212) 619-0714

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