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Recently moved and already have problems with LL and apt.

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Recently moved and already have problems with LL and apt.

Postby bhart226 » Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:07 am


My fiance and I just recently moved from the midwest and currently live in Nassau county Long Island. We just moved into our apartment a week ago and the LL has contacted us about the apartment being inspected by building inspectors.

We first saw the listing from our apartment on a popular real estate website and it was listed as a two bedroom apartment. When we viewed the apartment it was in a house and consisted of two apartments on the first floor of the house and two on the second floor. The apartment we were showed was on the second floor and had nicely carpeted stairs leading up to the third floor which is more or less a finished attic. Our LL marketed the upstairs as a great master bedroom and even recommended to us a furniture place where we can get split box springs to fit our queen bed upstairs. The place and LL seemed great so we signed our generic lease.

When we moved in a week ago, our LL gave us our keys and informed us that we were technically not supposed to use the upper stairs as a bedroom, but they did not regulate it and getting an inspection is very rare. My fiance and I did not think anything of it as we are from the midwest and are unfimilar with this type of environment and the laws regarding housing/renting. I received a phone call from my LL saying that inspectors are coming to look at the place and that they wanted to look at the electrical wiring of the upstairs "finished attic" and to check to make sure it is not being used as a living quarters.

The LL did not mention any of these laws prior to us signing our lease and there is no where in the lease that states that we are not suppossed to use the finished attic as a living area. They also marketed the apartment as a two bedroom (one of which is the finished attic) and made no mention of the regulations behind the place. Does anyone have any advice for us regarding this situation and whether we have legal grounds to break the lease, etc.....? Thanks for any help! Appreciate it!

Deeply Concerned
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Postby Aubergine » Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:43 pm

Note that you posted in a New York City topic area of the forum, but you are in Nassau County.

As a matter of contract law, a material misrepresentation of fact or law by a party to a contract, on which the other party actually relied, may provide grounds for rescission of the contract by the party who relied on the misrepresentation and a defense to its enforcement against that party.

To illustrate some options a tenant might have under the circumstances (not recommending any in particular) include:

1. Vacate and surrender the apartment and notify the LL that the lease is rescinded as void because of his material misrepresentation.

2. Sue in NYS Supreme Court for rescission of the lease and unjust enrichment (the LL's retention of money paid in excess of the actual value of the apartment).

3. Remain in the apartment and pay less than the full contract rent, and defend any nonpayment proceeding on the ground that the lease is void and unenforceable because it was fraudulently induced by the LL's misrepresentations.

4. Remain in the apartment and using the upstairs room as a bedroom, and hope that this does not result in any consequences for you (regardless of what the result is for the LL).

If you are willing to continue to rent the place but not to pay a two-bedroom rent for a one-bedroom apartment, there might be room in your case for a compromise, such as a rent abatement. If you do not move out and claim that the lease is unenforceable because of the LL's misrepresentation, a court might determine that the LL is entitled to recover the actual value of the premises as actually occupied.
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Postby Anna » Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:45 pm

LL said this, LL said that...
There are three basic types of rooms: habitable rooms, sleeping rooms, non-habitable rooms [kit/bath/office]: they have diff window/area/egress requirements.

Find out the truth about what the attic can legally be used for today & what it could be used for if LL paid the proper permits.
Go to the Bldg Dept in your town & get a copy of the CO [look up violations while you're there]; also find a copy of the town Bldg Code and Zoning Ordinance [public library?].
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Postby bhart226 » Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:07 pm

Thanks for the help you two. I am going to check out the specifics today at our local office. Appreciate everything!
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:44 pm

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