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Re: Unreasonable increase in 19 day notice.

Posted by Al Gordon on July 03, 1998 at 10:02:58:

In Reply to: Unreasonable increase in 19 day notice. posted by Richard on July 02, 1998 at 02:23:36:

Everything about your situation sounds absurd. A $900 increase sounds illegel and so does a 19-day notice, however laws vary from state to state. You should call the Department of Housing in your area and get specific answers to your questions. Following is general information on dealing with a bad landlord. It does not specifically relate to your problem but it could be helpful to you. DEALING WITH A SLUMLORD. (NYS)
You can deal with a slumlord in two ways. The 'official' way and the 'non-official' way. If you choose non-official, you may want to go through the official motions just to have them in your back pocket. OFFICIAL WAY. First Step. Send a letter certified-with-return-receipt-requested to your landlord clearly stating your complaint detailing the problem(s) and how long it has existed. Also state that you want it corrected immediately. (If you can get a few more tenants in on this it would be helpful but donít feel that it is necessary). Make sure to put the date on the letter and to sign it. You can have the return-receipt returned to you anywhere you want but make sure that it is clear that it was originally submitted by you, the tenant of your building. Give the landlord a month to start correcting things. If he does nothing, that pretty much indicates that he has no intention to (make any corrections). Second Step. After your month of waiting, call NYC Central Complaint Bureau and make your official complaint by phone. Some stuff may not fall into their jurisdiction and they may refer you to DHCR (Department of Housing and Community Renewal) for you to make official complaints and to seek help. You may have to fill out some complaint forms. You donít need a lawyer, its easy stuff in English. (Make sure you ask for forms to file for a ďrent reduction based on reduced or lack of servicesĒ). Third Step. If they donít get back to you within a month, contact them and be persistent. The more tenants you can get to share in your actions the better, but again, it is not necessary. Fourth Step. As a result of all the above, bureaucratic wheels will be set in motion and your landlord will start to feel pressure to deal with things. This can be a lengthy process and you shouldnít expect SWAT to come busting your landlordís door down tomorrow. UNNOFFICIAL WAY. You should pursue the unofficial way while you have already put the official way in motion. Start looking for tenants who share your feelings on the status of the building. Let them know that you want to deal with this problem and that you are planning to start a fuss. (Not a riot). Try to start a Tenants Association. This is easy and TAís are not registered with the City. You just form it and it exists. If you need help doing this, you should contact entities such as NYS Teanats and Neighbors Coalition, Met Council, and maybe even find something on this website about forming TAís. Itís a piece of cake. Once youíve formed your TA make your presence and demands loud & clear rather than secretive & sneaky. Loud & clear works better and should intimidate your slumlord (who thinks that you are all a bunch of idiots, and, who will not be expecting that you would actually take the initiative to deal with him). TIP. A minor investment of a concealed mini tape recorder in your pocket at all times catching a tough-guy landlord (or superintendent) making a threat could only work in your favor. Harrassment by a landlord (or his representatives) carries a stiff fine (a few thousand dollars) if you can prove it. However, donít feel that it is necessary to make such an investment. EPILOGUE. Many people are of the opinion that municipal agencies such as DHCR are bureaucrats that donít deal with things and that allow your case to be burried in a historical pile of archives. Often enough that will happen but you shouldnít be discouraged. I got a building problem dealt with in 3 weeks because I handled it well (by using the motions described above and by getting support from other tenants who had the balls to put their signature on a sheet of paper). We scared the crap out of our to-be-slumlord and put him in his place. You should set the Ďofficialí wheels in motion as soon as possible. Get the ball rolling and kick ass.

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