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Illegal Cellar Apartment

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Illegal Cellar Apartment

Postby joetherenter » Wed Oct 19, 2016 4:39 pm

Hi Folks,

I'm renting an illegal cellar apartment. (I have recently found out.)

I have rented for year. I am now on a new lease. For one more year.

LL wants me out. I am pursuing a new place to live now. I may have an apartment for Nov 15th, with a one year lease, and Not an illegal cellar. I'm trying hard now to get said lease.

Via a 311 complaint, DOB sent an inspector, from ERT, who found me exiting the premises and affixed a note on the door, saying to call DOB for an inspection, and an access warrant may be pursued if not. It reads "1st attempt" "illegal cellar tenant denied access" on DOB.

I would love to try and make it until Nov. 15th, 2 weeks from now, so i don't have to put things in storage. Is there anyway to do so other than hoping I make it until then and denying access to premises ?

Also I have read (this is a multiple dwelling w me and 3 floors above, CO for only 3 floors, and cellar is marked ordinary use) that there is no way to get back rent paid, but is there a way to get security deposit back ?

I asked LL for security deposit back, and moving / storage cost and i could be out in 3 days. She offered 7 days to move and 1/4 of security deposit. I said no. That I will try to find a place and then move if she wouldnt pay back security and moving cost.

If they gain access, via warrant or not, the ERT (emergency response team), how long would i have to move my possessions if i am Not allowed to stay in apartment ? (a few days ?) also how long will they give me to "grab" some things if asking me to vacate immediately ?

Thanks for any and all help !
joetherenter
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:01 am
Location: brooklyn

Re: Illegal Cellar Apartment

Postby TenantNet » Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:31 pm

The notice on the door from DOB is meant for the LL, not for you. Knowing how the bureaucracy moves slowly, I don't think you will have a problem by Nov. 15th. However, after that I would keep calling 311 as basement apartments are illegal for a reason (i.e., dangerous) and the LL will likely rent to a new tenant unless stopped.

Even if DOB gets access and places a violation, I don't think you will have a problem unless they smell gas or something that will create an "immediate vacate" situation. Usually the immediate vacate orders happen when a building is in danger of falling down. I understand your concern, but I don't think it will happen that quickly.

In my experience, ERT comes from HPD, not DOB.

As for your deposit, well that depends on the LL. I would think that if you withhold rent for November, you might be able to recover that part of your deposit. Just make sure there are no real damages when you leave. Take many photos and if possible have a walk-through with the LL.
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Re: Illegal Cellar Apartment

Postby joetherenter » Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:49 pm

Thank you !

A few notes. Notice reads to Owner or occupant. It comes from NYC buildings. HPD online has no record of complaint. 311 and DOB does. Complaint started in May. Finally sent someone in Oct. The thing I am seeing with prior complaints is once ERT comes out, they then come back again within a few days or weeks. I am seeing this on the actual building I am in. Many complaints on current building closed due to unable to access.
No prior complaints or violations on illegal cellar, though i have confirmed previous tenants resided here.

I am comforted by you saying you don't think an immediate vacate will happen. So happy I reached out. Any chance immediate vacates happen more in Cellars ? I am in cellar, windows below curb. There are two exits but there is a boiler, which is behind walls / enclosed.

Re Deposit, I would like to pursue a full deposit refund. I'm guessing small claims court will be my only way of doing so ?

Re Inspection, Perhaps a way to schedule inspection whilst moving out, or maybe there schedules are too unpredictable ?

Would be nice to reach out to de Blasio, whom I have read thinks he lived in an illegal basement ! : ))
joetherenter
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:01 am
Location: brooklyn

Re: Illegal Cellar Apartment

Postby TenantNet » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:14 pm

So maybe it's DOB, but ERP (Emergency Repair Program) is definitely HPD. But that doesn't really matter here. Maybe ERT is different.

Yes, DOB manages to show up when no one is there. Perhaps they could get their head straight on things like this.

Yes basement and cellars are not the same thing. I can't say for certain, but in what I've seen in over 30 years, you most likely son't see a vacate notice unless they smell gas.

Sure getting a full deposit back would be nice, but get what you can. You can always got to Small Claims Court. Take many photos to ensure against LL claim of false damages.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
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