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Housing/Zoning Situation

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Housing/Zoning Situation

Postby nydr » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:08 pm

I recently moved to NYC and live in a room in a house. I would like to understand my rights. I share a floor (2nd floor) with two other tenants, each has a room, and there is another tenant in the attic (do not know if renting the attic is legal). So four in all, in this part of the house. We share a kitchen, living room and a restroom.

The house is a Single Family Home being converted to a Two Family Home (ongoing construction). There were seven people living before the conversion process began (permit and construction).

Would this be considered an apartment, house or some other kind of dwelling .... what is an SRO? Accordingly, what rights/issues should I be aware of. The Landlord is kind of non-communicative .. just wondering if I am living in an illegal housing situation or something on the lines.

After doing some research, I now realize, that the zoning rules for this property do not allow individual rooms to be rented to boarders. So, am I in trouble?

The landlord has, on a couple of occasions, told me do not let in anyone from the DOB for inspection. If the DOB does carry out an inspection and find the LL to be running an illegal dwelling/rental situation, what would be the fallout for the LL and the tenants?

I just moved in and do not want the stress of moving again. Can I be evicted without notice ... would I be subject to any penalty for renting a room in the house .. Please advise.

Finally, the LL is kinda disrespectful - enters (even individual rooms) without notice, does not maintain the place, does not give accurate receipts, construction workers turned off electricity once without notice .... and so on.
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Postby lofter1 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:21 pm

Clearly your LL has no respect for the law and will choose to do whatever he wants no matter how badly it effects you and other tenants.

You're somewhat over a barrel if you want to keep living there -- If you challenge the LL on his illegal / non-compliant actions & conditions then (1) LL may kick you out and (2) LL might play even harder and make life more miserable.

On the other hand if all of the T's in your building were to join together and confront the LL then you all MIGHT gain something. But chances are the LL would just kick you out or stop supplying essential services. None of which is legal, but as we've seen that seems to matter little to your LL.
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Postby concord » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:12 pm

There is probably nothing illegal about you living there. As long as building codes for safety (such as sprinkler system, ceiling height, room size, emergency exits, etc.) are met there is nothing wrong with renting out a single room to somebody. Your landlord is probably keen on hiding the rental income from the IRS and the State however.

SRO stands for Single Room Occupancy. I’m not sure if that house automatically falls under that classification just because the owner decided to rent out single rooms. It sounds like a question for Department of Buildings with whom which the landlord must register what type of dwelling that house is. You could give them a call.

If on the other hand your landlord is, indeed, not permitted to rent out single room for some zoning reason and if the DOB or some other agency finds out then you could actually be ordered to vacate. You are not in any legal trouble either way - you are just a guy who was offered a room and you rented it. You can not be expected to know if your landlord is complying with zoning laws.

I will speculate that you are not rent stabilized and that your landlord can probably evict you without having to go through many legal hurdles.

You can find out more info about your place of residence by going to these websites and typing in your address:


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