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Noisy Resident Landlord/Owner in NYC Month-to-Month Rental

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Noisy Resident Landlord/Owner in NYC Month-to-Month Rental

Postby pomo81 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:20 pm

I have just returned from Housing Court in Brooklyn, where I was told that because I have a month-to-month agreement in a non-regulated building I basically have no rights as a tenant.

Situation:
Month-to-month verbal agreement for one floor of a non-regulated three-family dwelling (three floors plus a basement) since December 2005.

Lately the live-in owner/LL on the first floor has been playing loud music into the early morning hours. I am on the second floor and I've put up with the noise for quite a while, but I finally confronted the LL on this issue one month ago. The loud music persisted, and I confronted him again a few days ago at 1:00 am.

His response was that if I don't like it, I can get out, and that if I stay my rent will increase $100. I figured there was no way he could get away with such retaliation and that in court his actions would be construed as retaliation and harassment. I called my local police precinct and filed an excessive noise complaint. The loud music stopped at 3:15 am and has not returned. I have no idea if the Police ever came by to influence this change in behavior.

Rent for January will be due in a few days, and I am planning on refusing any rent increase, if such is demanded. I am of the understanding that I am in my rights to construe any action on his part to raise rent or evict me as retaliation and harassment for complaining about his refusal to provide a relatively quiet living environment.


Is the information I got from Housing Court correct, that I don't have any rights in this mattter?

Thank you very much fro any suggestions.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:39 pm

See section 223-b of the Real Property Law, the Retaliation clause:

http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/RPL/rpl07.html

Unregulated units without leases have few rights, but this should apply. It's a short-term fix. If the LL wants you out, in the long run they will get you out.

Also see http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5024
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Postby pomo81 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:08 pm

TenantNet:

Thank you for your reply. I had read some simplified version of Sec. 223-b, which gave me the confidence to stand my ground. Thank you for the link to the full version. It all seems to read uncategorically in my favor, save paragraph 6, which provokes caution on my part:


(My emphasis ****)

6. This section shall apply to all rental residential premises
****except owner-occupied dwellings with less than four units.****
However, its provisions shall not be given effect in any
case in which it is established that the condition from
which the complaint or action arose was caused by the
tenant, a member of the tenant's household, or a guest of
the tenant. Nor shall it apply in a case where a tenancy was
terminated pursuant to the terms of a lease as a result of a
bona fide transfer of ownership.


This is a three-family home, but I know the LL is renting out the basement. Does the LL's renting out the basement make the owner-occupied dwelling have "four units" and not "less than three"?
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Postby lofter1 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:31 pm

From what you write it seems that basement apartment is not a legal residential unit and thereby the building has three legal units and one illegal unit, so it would fit in with the less than 4 units designation.

If that is so -- and the LL is profiting from an illegal apartment -- then that knowledge might give you some additional leverage when dealing with your landlord.
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Postby pomo81 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:10 pm

lofter1 wrote:From what you write it seems that basement apartment is not a legal residential unit and thereby the building has three legal units and one illegal unit, so it would fit in with the less than 4 units designation.

If that is so -- and the LL is profiting from an illegal apartment -- then that knowledge might give you some additional leverage when dealing with your landlord.



Thanks for the support.

LL spoke with me yesterday, Dec. 30th, with the aid of a neutral interpreter (LL doesn't speak English very well).

LL restated everything he said in his drunken state at 1 am Dec. 25th, same as in original post. He wants me out. I told him I've been looking for another apartment, but I need time to find one.He told me I can stay until I find an apartment but that he wants an extra $100 a month.My thinking is that a judge would ask him to explain his motive here.

I realize that month-to-month tenants in NYC don't have many rights, but can he ask for a $100 rent increase on one day's notice, or must he give at least 30 days' notice. Either way, my contention is still that all this is in retaliation for my complaining about his playing of loud music at 1 am and that I certainly can't agree to a $100 rent increase without his fixing roach infestation and moldy holes in bathroom ceiling due to water leaking from either the upper apartment or the roof, holes which he has been aware of for more than six months.

LL also mentioned that no one else in the building has complained about noise levels, which I'm sure is true, as everyone else speaks Spanish and very little English, comes from the Dominican Republic (including LL and his family), and is unlikely to stand up for or recognize what rights they may have.
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