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August 2012 Archives

If You're Disabled, The Landlord Must Make - Reasonable Accommodations

Tenants with disabilities have protections under the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments. Under anti-discrimination laws, you are "disabled" if you have a physical or mental impairment that interferes with a major life activity, such as working, in a substantial manner. If you have a disability, your landlord must make reasonable accommodations to facilitate your using the apartment, such as supplying grab bars in your bathroom, allowing a companion animal, or providing a parking spot close to your unit. To be required, the accommodation's cost to the landlord cannot be excessive, significantly alter his or her business operation, or pose a danger or discomfort to other tenants. Start by sending a certified letter to the landlord with your request and why you ask for it. If the landlord refuses, you can take legal action to enforce your rights. 

Primary Tenant Liability for a Sublet

If you sublet your apartment and the landlord illegally evicts your subtenant, you have potential liability. In New York City, evicting people without court process is a crime. If the landlord does it, you can have "vicarious liability," which means that you can be held liable for the landlord's wrongful acts.

Deadly Danger to Your Tenancy: The 72 Hour Notice that Never Appears

What happens if you've been fighting in court with your landlord over back rent and after you agree on a payment schedule, you can't make required payments? The landlord will then take the last steps to evict you. If, like most, your agreement gave the landlord a judgment with a warrant, the marshal can remove you from the apartment very swiftly. It  usually happens after six business days following his delivering a marshal's notice to the premises, often called a "72 hour notice." Unfortunately, if you never receive it, your eviction might come as a complete surprise. So if you miss any payment set out in the stipulation, you take a big risk if you wait for the 72-hour notice. Instead, look for a way you can make up for your failure to pay on time. If there is an explanation for your not paying or a way you can get back on track with the agreement, go to Housing Court and ask the clerk for the papers to get an Order to Show Cause. When the judge signs it and you follow its directions, it can give you an opportunity to explain your circumstances to the judge and "show cause" why you shouldn't be evicted. This may give you the time you need to get the money.

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