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Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lease

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Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lease

Postby JingoFresh » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:13 pm

My lease contains a clause saying that if I wish to renew, I must notify the landlord of my intention, and they will respond within 15 days of receiving my notice of my intention to renew.

I sent this and have proof it was received via certified mail. The landlord did not respond, and has only responded today on July 15th, more than a month later to say they will not be renewing my lease.

Do I have any protection based on this to fight to stay?

Additionally, my lease contains a clause that the landlord may enter my apartment at any time to show the apartment to potential renters. I work from home and keep odd hours due to necessity, and don't want random people coming in if I'm sleeping during the day or whatever.

Do I have any protection against this?

My written notice was via email and did not stated that refusal to vacate can lead to eviction, which from what I understand the notice is required to state by law (Real Property Law §232-a).

Apartment is not RS or RC, for certain.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:19 pm

Being unregulated, you have no protection on lease renewals other than what is in your lease. There is an exception when you have exercised your rights and the LL's action can be seen as retaliatory. See RPL §223(b) parts 1-6 at http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/RPL/rpl07.html

But I would look at whether or not your apartment should be rent stab. Many apartments are deregulated illegally.

If the LL's notice to you is shortly before your lease expires (for example, Aug. 1), you can probably negotiate time to find a new place, or if the LL takes you to court, your fight would be over how much time you will need. In such situations, it's best to have a tenant attorney.

As for access, LL's do have rights to access in a number of circumstances. See the access discussion in the forum's Reference section. However, right to access does not mean the LL can enter at will. They must notify you ahead of time, and you can respond giving them other dates and times when you can be there to provide access. It's a negotiation, but you must be reasonable and so must the LL. They cannot enter at will or when you are not there without your permission.

Email is not sufficient notice (but check the lease to see form of notice).

RPL 232(a) is for month-to-month tenants, which you are not right now. You still are on a lease. But after the lease expires, that requirement would kick in if the LL accepts the rent for the month after the lease expires. See RPL §232-c.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby JingoFresh » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:15 am

Thanks Tenantnet.

I've researched as much as I can based on your previous advice, and the apartment really does not seem to be RC or RS.

I'm looking into lawyers as well (many from the ads on this site), although I wonder if any have a "only pay if you win" system?

Is it correct to say that as I am not a month to month tenant, the fact that I was not notified that eviction proceedings are a possibility is meaningless? That's understandable, just looking for loopholes and such.

My lease says written notification, but does not specifically say email.

My landlord has a history of simply unlocking my door unexpectedly and without prior warning, and I expect this to happen from this date forward.

Do I have any protection against this, is it not trespassing or something similar? I have a web camera setup as a security camera, but I am unsure what action I could take if I record them entering my apartment without permission.

I wonder if I could demonstrate my landlord is not renewing my lease as a retaliatory measure. I have always (until recently) paid my rent on time, have caused no damage, my neighbors like me and I am away more often than not for work.

My lease specifically says that the landlord should respond to my intent to renew letter within 15 days of sending it, which is 75 days before the expiration of my lease. As the landlord did not abide by the lease when it comes to my intention to renew, I would think this gives me some protection but I have to talk to a lawyer to be sure.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:11 am

As far as I know, most tenant attorneys work on retainer, not contingency.

If you have a current lease, then you are not month-to-month. If you stay after the lease expires, pay rent and the LL accepts it, then you would become M2M.

In my opinion, written means on physical paper given to you or mailed to you.

If the LL has a history of just walking in, then it's time to change the locks. If he persists, and if he demands a key (which he has a right to), then let him know in writing he is not allowed in without a previously arranged appointment, your permission and presence, unless there's a real emergency. A fire is an emergency; peeling paint is not.

You don't indicate your gender, but that could be a factor here - in the LL's behavior and your need for privacy.

In my opinion it is trespassing, which is why you need to put it in writing, and if it gets bad, notify the police. (the police are horrible on this stuff, but you should get it on record). It would help to get them on camera.

As for the LL's late reply, then that could give you a defense that the LL waived his right to not renew the lease. I don't know how a court would react to that, but worth trying. If nothing else, it can probably get you more time.

Bottom line is that unless you can prove RS status, eventually they will get you out.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby innocent1997 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:10 am

Of the circumstances that I have observed, the housing court does not seem to put a lot of weight on retaliation defense when the lease expires and the apartment is not rent stabilizated.

In addition, from what I have read, the retaliation defense normally is based on complaints to government agency.

Finally, I think it's not a bad idea to have a lawyer to help neogitate for longer time (assuming you can afford one) before using the housing court system.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:25 am

I';m sure it depends on the judge, but you're probably right they often don't give it a lot of credence. But still, one could make a motion on the retaliatory claim, either pre-trial, or with the trial court, and if in writing, it would force the LL to offer a written opposition, and then you could have a written reply ... slowing the process down somewhat. It might add a month or two to the proceedings.

A written motion can be made two days before the next court appearance if sent to the LL's attorney by Fedex to arrive the day before. Submit the original in court along with the affidavit of service signed and notarized by the person/friend you have doing the serving. Chances are then LL's atty will want some time to oppose, a minimum of three weeks, but you would have a right to reply to the opposition, another 2 weeks or so.

All this is better done with an attorney if you are a novice in Housing Court, and remember, the choice to assert retaliation is part of an overall strategy.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby innocent1997 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:19 pm

TenantNet wrote:I'
All this is better done with an attorney if you are a novice in Housing Court, and remember, the choice to assert retaliation is part of an overall strategy.


Regarding strategy, what if the tenant files a case with DHCR arguing that the apartment was illegally destabilized prior to the lease finishes. Then during the holdover proceeding, the tenant supposedly could file a motion to dismiss the case to defer the case to DHCR? This way, the tenant could buy a lot of time since DHCR is known for delays?
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby JingoFresh » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:30 pm

My main issue is choosing a lawyer.

Going by some advertising on the site, they have very questionable reviews on Yelp and Google. I'm overseas for all of this month for work, and even getting an idea of fees by email is proving difficult.

It really shouldn't be so hard to communicate by email, which is actually more secure than calling if confidential is a prime concern. Guess it's the same type of people who would rather have a fax than a scanned high quality jpeg encrypted with a strong passphrase for a key.

If anyone has recommendations for a tenant lawyer with reasonable fees who is willing to communicate via email, please let me know.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:08 pm

On choosing a lawyer ... obviously we get advertising revenue from those who advertise here. I have personally used a few of these attorneys, but not all. Even the best lawyer cannot guarantee a win - that's a lot to do with the facts of the case, the judge and luck. But a good lawyer can help. I have not looked at outside reviews on Yelp or Google. But it is important how an attorney treats a case and the client. That is something to factor in.

OTOH, remember they can't give you 100% of their time. At any given time they are handling dozens of cases. That is what lawyers do. If they don't get back to you in 20 minutes, they might be in trial with another case. But if you don't hear from them after a week, I would start to worry.

Unfortunately many lawyers are not computer experts. But most should have no problem dealing with email - in my experience.

One attorney who I've used is one of the best in the city IMHO, but he is terrible at communicating.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby JingoFresh » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:41 pm

So, I am away for work this week.

I just got an email saying they will be showing my apartment tomorrow at 3pm.

I won't be home till 8.

I don't want them in my apartment while I'm not there, but not sure if I have a right to enforce that.

I have a camera setup recording any unathorized entry, so that may be useful.

What are the right here, and how leniant do I have to be?

I'm away for next week also, and simply don't want them in my apartment if I'm not there. I can allow them on weekends maybe.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:02 pm

First, did you change the locks? It's not that hard to do yourself for basic locks. You don't need to pay a locksmith $200 to do that.

Second, send them an email back saying you will not be there, that you do not consent to any showing of your apartment, and they are to keep out. Tell them that any entry will be considered unlawful entrance which you will report to the police.

Moreover, they did not give you proper notice (see the Forum's Reference section). The access laws in our opinion trump whatever the lease might say. Quote the laws to the LL. (but don't quote the laws that are only for RC/RS units)

http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4837
http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7789

I would also give them reasonable alternate times and dates.

The real world version is that there are laws, and the LL can take tenants to court for refusal to provide access. But if you're moving anyway, it's a bit moot.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby JingoFresh » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:22 pm

Thank you.

I sent a similar email and offered to show them the apartment on Saturday or Sunday.

They ignored what I said and quoted their lease.

I also notified them that I am recording all entries into the apartment for use as evidence at a later point.

Will change the locks when I get home....is that legal? Do I have to provide them a key?
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:59 pm

You can change the locks (but do not discard the old cylinder that belongs to the LL and restore it when you leave). They can request a key. If you don't give it to them, they can commence a holdover in Housing Court. When are you leaving? How long will it take for them do do something about it? Even if you weren't leaving right away, the fact that you offer to show it at some other time shows good faith.

One caveat, they do have a right to enter in case of a real emergency (i.e., fire). Without a key they would have top break down the door and you would likely be on the hook for that.

It's been a while since I actually purchased a cylinder, but unless it's a Medco or similar brand, your basic everyday cylinder should not be that expensive. If you're reasonably good with hardware, you can do the change in maybe 30 minutes.
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby JingoFresh » Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:31 pm

OK, thank you.

Yeah, I just bought a set of locks for $20.

I will have them on video coming in to my apartment after I explicitly denied them permission to do so, on the basis that I wish to be present. They are quoting a line from the lease that they feel gives them permission, but I don't know that it holds any weight legally.

So far, I have not made any plans to leave. I'm constantly traveling for work and have not had a chance, and ideally would like to stay.

I don't expect there to be an emergency, so I'm happy to shoulder that risk.

Also planning to put up a "to do list" noting the problems with the apartment that I need to get resolved....
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Re: Notification of lease not being renewed past date in lea

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:15 pm

When you say for certain the unit is not RS, did you go through the various tests, or just relying on what the LL says?

Without RS protection, they can get you out, although I don't think you said when the current lease expires. You can always stay beyond the expiration of the lease and the LL can then file for eviction. So be aware of that.
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