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How To Find Out If Basement Apartment is IIlegal?

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How To Find Out If Basement Apartment is IIlegal?

Postby KaiZen2010 » Mon Mar 03, 2003 10:11 am

According to a real estate buddy of mine, as well as several friends at work who own homes, basement apartments for rental in private homes are illegal. Is there a concrete way to find out if the basement apartment that I’ve been renting in a private house for the past 3.5 years is legal? Where can I find this out? And, if the determination is made that the apartment is illegal, what course of action would I be able to I take?

I’ve never questioned it before because I found the apartment through a real estate agent and I’ve never had problems with the landlady, but I’ve recently caught her in several lies, called her bluff, and now I have NO confidence that she’s been telling me the truth. Should I seek counsel from a lawyer? My friend says that if the apt is illegal, then I can take her to court and get my paid rent back, as this has happened to him. I don’t know if this is the course of action I want to take, but I certainly want to learn what I can do to protect myself.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

Best regards,

KaiZen
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Re: How To Find Out If Basement Apartment is IIlegal?

Postby jot0n0 » Mon Mar 03, 2003 10:46 am

To determine if the basement apt is legal, you will need to go to the Dept. of Building and find the Certicate of Occupancy for the property which will tell you how many units are allowed. If it is illegal you can take LL to court, but the most likely outcome will be your eviction since it's an illegal unit.

From a reply by another member, Consigliere in reponse to a similar situation as yours,

"Tenants are not entitled to a rent refund if they paid rent when a building didn't have a proper certificate of occupancy.

Recent appellate court decisions have held that a landlord can't collect rent while there isn't a valid certificate of occupancy, but have allowed a landlord to collect rent retroactively after a proper certificate of occupancy is issued.

It might be possible for the landlord to legalize the conditions or file the proper paperwork to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

If the landlord can't obtain a certificate of occupancy, the landlord has to take the tenant to housing court or to state Supreme Court to evict or eject the tenant. The landlord can't seek rent or use and occupancy if it can't obtain a proper certificate of occupancy."

You might also want to go to the "Non-Regulated Apartment" section of this forum and look up past
posting under "illegal apartment" last post on 1/31/03 and "illegal conversion", 1/21/03.
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Re: How To Find Out If Basement Apartment is IIlegal?

Postby joliett » Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:54 am

Is there a separate electric meter? Is so it may be legal.

Are there windows in the basement apartment? If not probably illegal.

But the DOB is the best course.

Look at this:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/illegal-conversion.html

and you can get building info here:
http://webapps.nyc.gov:8082/bisweb/bispi00.jsp?static=true
Joel Teicher, P.E.
www.TenantEngineer.com
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