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Deceit used to gain entry

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Deceit used to gain entry

Postby JingoFresh » Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:08 pm

Today, I received a call and email from my property management company stating that there was an emergency, and that they will be entering my apartment. That they would knock, but if I did not answer they would use a key.

I was supposed to be sleeping at the time, and I'm not sure what I could have done to prevent them entering.

In any case, there seemed to be no emergency. They came prepared with a copy of today's newspaper to take a photo of a bucket of water I use to do water changes for my aquarium. I had permission to have the aquarium stated in the lease, and have been doing water changes for some months now, and there has never been an issue. The bucket does not leak nor have I ever spilled any.

I have it on video. Basically, they came in only to take photos, no other action was taken. The emergency was found to be the presence of my bucket which I was asked to remove, despite it no leaking and there being absolutely no way it was the cause of any alleged water issue.

Is there any action I can take to prevent them claiming an emergency to gain access? Their actions after entering clearly indicated there was no emergency.
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Re: Deceit used to gain entry

Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:17 pm

LLs can enter in case of emergency ... a real emergency.

What do you mean you were "supposed to be sleeping?" Were you there? Were you sleeping? Was there a real emergency?

If the LL takes a photo of a bucket, that proves nothing IMHO. I doubt they can force you to remove an empty bucket. Has there been any report or allegation of water leaking to the unit below you?

You can write them a letter explaining that what they did was not an emergency in anyone's imagination, that if they try that again, you will consider your options. (I would keep it unspecific and non-threatening). If you're not rent regulated, then you are at a disadvantage.

So before you do that, think several moves ahead the ramifications of escalating things with a threat. In my opinion you have every right to make a claim of trespass. But the cops are routinely on the LL's side on situations like this. And that's one way to guarantee they won't renew the lease.

You can also change your locks (usually just the cylinder needs changing and it can be done without a locksmith if you're somewhat mechanical). Yes, they can demand a key, but first they need to know you changed it (so don't tell them).

Of course this begs the question. Obviously they knew you had a bucket? How did that happen? Were there any problems before this? What's the rest of the story?
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Re: Deceit used to gain entry

Postby JingoFresh » Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:40 pm

I am working night shift, so I was on my way to sleep when I got this email. Had I already fallen asleep, I would have woken, startled, to hear people entering my apartment to take a photo.

My guess is that the guy who is showing the apartment wanted my bucket and filter system removed, as it perhaps looks unsightly when showing the apartment.

There have been absolutely no issues with water in the building that were a result of my having a bucket of water. It does not leak, and I have never spilled it.

It was not a real emergency by any means, because they came prepared with a copy of the newspaper to take a photo, took a photo, and then left.

I sent an email noting that I have all this recorded, and that from their behaviour there did not seem to be any emergency. Furthermore one of the administrative employees who entered noted they received an email at 2:30am about water leaking in the apartment below, and that that email can be subpenaed.

I would bet almost everything that there was no emergency, and they just used that excuse to enter my apartment on a false pretense.

I have changed my locks, which I think they know, so tried to use this excuse to have a reason to request a key.

Things are already hostile, and there is absolutely no chance of them renewing my lease unless forced to or a settlement is reached.

If there is a way to prove that there was no emergency, then I would like to take some kind of action, as I was stressed for the rest of the day and unable to sleep.
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Re: Deceit used to gain entry

Postby TenantNet » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:07 pm

Showing your apartment - are you leaving?

You could make a police report, but in my experience NYPD is hostile to tenants. Still it might be worth getting it on record if you're that pissed.

If it is as you suggest, and anticipate moving, then I wouldn't worry too much. There's not much they can really do. But be prepared for them to manufacture evidence.
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Re: Deceit used to gain entry

Postby JingoFresh » Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:46 pm

Not planning to leave but my lease is up at the end of the month.

I have to show the apartment legally, and have been cooperating with that.

I don't anticipate moving as I am hopeful the apartment will be reclassified as RS, since it appears substantial rehabilitation was not done which is why the owner filed it as exempt. Even if that is not successful I will have some time after the lease is up according to my lawyer.

So far, the only notice I have received is that they will not be renewing my lease, no eviction order or anything of the sort.

I may well go to NYPD, as a message needs to be sent that this behaviour is not tolerable.
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Re: Deceit used to gain entry

Postby TenantNet » Sat Aug 16, 2014 6:58 pm

Once the lease is up, the LL can commence a holdover proceeding in housing court. If there's an active DHCR proceeding on the status, the judge should defer to that, but judges have been know to screw tenants.
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