Posted by TenantNet on August 24, 1997 at 13:53:32:
In Reply to: Landlord modifications after fire that he caused posted by Concerned neighbor on August 23, 1997 at 11:16:10:
: This is the situation of a building in my neighborhood.
: Nearly five months ago, there was a fire in a building, that left
6 families homeless. The fire destroyed everything, including most
of the families belongings as well as the entire structure of the
building. It was caused by a kitchen fire in the landlords restaurant
: The landlord has preceded to renovate the entire restaurant and has
reopened it for business, while the remaining stories still do not even
have floors in which to walk. In addition, he has proposed to transform
the former 6 apartments into 12, thus reducing the square footage of space
considerably. This is a rent stabilized dwelling.
: Can he do any of this legally? How long can this person get away with
leaving these families homeless? Can he reduce the size of their
apartments? How does this impact on the rent?
I would get professional help ASAP -- either a tenant lawyer or a community
organization that deals in such matters. If you send email to
tenant -at- tenant.net with your location, we'll see if we can point you in
the right direction. Get all the tenants together -- it will be easier to
deal with as a group. I would also pay $1/month even if you aren't living
there just to maintain the landlord-tenant relationship and maintain
your legal rights. In some cases (not all) going to the press or your
local community board might help (or picketing the restaurant). It will
depend on your community. Politicians -- depends on which one, but whatever,
don't rely on them exclusively.
As to the lagalities of what he's doing, it really depends on many factors
but what you describe sounds iffy.
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