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Illegal Apartment case brought to court PLEASE HELP

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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Illegal Apartment case brought to court PLEASE HELP

Postby alizabeth33 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:48 pm

I moved from Philadelphia to New York After I graduated college. I moved into a building in Manhattan and the apartment seemed fine. New appliances etc... I went through a broker, paid a fee, paid a large security deposit, and signed a residential lease that said it followed all of the laws of the state of New York. I went by the books...Within a month of moving in I noticed problems.

The first problem was that I was next to the boiler room in what was termed the cellar and the apartment would get very very hot. The only window I had didnt open and there was only one dirty vent in the bathroom. No other ventilation, not even in the kitchen. The apartment does have a second method of egress and if I wanted any type of air, I had to sleep with the door open (which isnt very safe for a single girl or anyone for that matter).

After about a month of living there, I was told by my neighbor that the apartment was not a legal residence and the department of buildings had issued them multiple violations for having the 3 tenants down there. After finding this out, I immediately confronted the apartment company. I called and sent letter after letter for 3 months with no response. I finally sent a letter asking to move out and for them to return my security deposit. Once again, no response. I contacted a couple different lawyers who advised me not to pay rent because they would not respond to my requests.

Now months later after many attempts to move and them telling me I would still be responsible for the lease even if I moved, they took me to court for non-payment.

Legally, according to the multiple dwelling law 301 and 302, they can not collect rent and the case should be dismissed just like the tenant's case across the hall. However, my judge is listening to their argument that because the apartment is habitable I should have had to pay rent even if the Certificate of Occupancy says that space is to be used for storage and commercial purposes.

I am terrified and dont know what to do because now they are suing me for back rent and attorneys fees and the judge is making a ruling in a week. I have the option to settle and (since my lease is up, I am in the process of moving out) however, I had to deal with hell for months after I requested to move out, they are keeping my security deposit, and according to the law, they are not entitled to anything. I need advice as to what to do.

They had their expert- an architect get on the stand and testify to the habitibilty of the apartment. HOWEVER, they did the work without a permit, and never got these apartments inspected. I thought only an inspector could determine what is habitable not an architect. An architect just draws the plan, an inspector makes sure that the contractor (who should work with permits and be licensed) does the work according to code.

I feel if the judge rules in their favor he will be telling all landlords that getting an inspection is not necessary and we might as well get rid of the whole department of buildings and all of the inspectors.

Please help... what do you think?
alizabeth33
 
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:20 pm

The forum Reference Section has a thread on illegal conversions. Also see http://www.tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/new/sub3/art5.html

Did you make a motion to dismiss? Do you have an attorney?
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Re: Illegal Apartment case brought to court PLEASE HELP

Postby joetherenter » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:26 am

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Re: Illegal Apartment case brought to court PLEASE HELP

Postby TenantNet » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:35 am

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Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
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