Posted by Anna on July 03, 2000 at 18:25:41:
In Reply to: Water & Electr Problems, Bathroom Hole, Harassment posted by Resher on July 03, 2000 at 17:02:21:
: Ms. Marta Navarro (Owner)
: 59-22 163 St
: Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
: Two/Three family house with 2 tenants on first floor, 3 or 4 in basement, owner and her family (4 people) upstairs.
: Problems: Last 2 years--Water Leaks (Kitchen and bathroom), Electricity problems, plaster/paint falling off ceiling, telephone line abuse (Bell Atlantic intervened). Blaring music, Neglect, Privacy issues, Harassment.
: The DHCR office has no jurisdiction. I called Central Complaints (212-960-4800) and requested an inspection. Was given a Case/Complaint No.
: I notified owner/landlady in writing that I will move out by end of July due to her violations, paid July (instead of using my Security Deposit).
: Ms. Navarro threatened me over the phone because "I should not complain," claims that I broke a washing machine and she is keeping my Security Deposit.
: In spite of current laws, it looks like owners of non-stabilized, non-rent-controlled housing units can violate everybody's rights.
: Besides going to a lawyer, what can I done? Where can I go? The Attorney General's Office was not much help, either.
: Thank you in advance.
You can sue her in Small Claims Court for a rent rebate for violations of the warrty of habitability and of the covenant of quiet enjoyment of the premises.
Two things to do:
1. security deposit: prevention / insurance. Try to get her to sign a check-out sheet listing no damages when you leave; make an appointment for her to do the inspection and collect the keys. Have witnesses there; use a video-cam; use a still cam. If she does not return the security within a 'reasonable' amount of time (no definition: 30 days is fair), sue her in Small Claims and report her to the AG.
2. illegal conversion, possibly. Read the Certificate of Occupancy posted in the common halls or go to the Dept of Buildings to get a copy. Is that house approved for one, two, or three families. Report it. The Queens President had a good info-page on this subject, but they're re-vamping their website at the moment.
Here's the DoB page: http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dob/html/illconbk.html
and the Queens homepage: http://www.queens.nyc.ny.us/index.html
and an excerpt from the missing illegal conversion page:
How do I report an illegal apartment in my neighborhood?
The NYC Department of Buildings is responsible for investigating complaints of illegal apartments. If you know of an illegal apartment in your area, you can file a complaint by calling or writing to:
New York City Department of Buildings
Queens Borough Office
126-06 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
In the alternative, you can call your local community board or one of the elected officials who represents your area.
Your rights as a tenant facing eviction from an illegal dwelling:
Queens Legal Services Corp.
89-02 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11435
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