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Eviction because Liability Release Form not Signed

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Eviction because Liability Release Form not Signed

Postby ladydaybh » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:08 am

Morning All,

My LL sent me an eviction letter because I have not signed a liability release form due to my room not having a fire escape. The letter states that my room does not have a fire escape and that no one I know can sue him in case of a fire (family, friend, etc). The letter really has nothing to do with my safety, it's to cover him in case something happens. He sent me the email on August 14th and gave me thirty days to sign it. It's not thirty days yet.

I moved in the apartment in December of 2011. I'm on the third floor of a six floor building that was built in 1940 and there are no sprinklers inside the apartment and the hallways. The second room in the apartment is the "legitimate" bedroom and has a fire escape. When I rented the room I was not aware that it was originally the living room nor was I aware of NY's fire escape rules.

I am waiting for a lawyer friend to come back from vacation to draft a different letter. I am willing to acknowledge that I have no fire escape and it's my responsibility to escape in case of a fire. I have a roommate who smokes and I have warned the LL of this on several occasions and he hasn't done a thing about it. The lease clearly states that no smoking is allowed in the apartment. I had to force the LL to change the fire alarm in the apartment and there is no fire extinguisher here either.

I am seven months pregnant and do not have the funds to move. I already started looking the minute he gave me the letter to sign and there is NOTHING out there in my price range. I really don't know what to do here. I'm so stressed that I'm starting to get Braxton Hicks.

Any suggestions or links to resources would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Postby TenantNet » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:47 am

All units in multiple dwellings must have two means of egress. That includes the regular entrance door and the second means of egress can be a number of things, including a fires escape (not including the first floor), a second door to the hallway if there's a fire barrier between the two hallway doors, or an internal fireproof exit stairs. For high rises buildings without fires escapes can have sprinklers.

I'm assuming you're not regulated since you're posting in the non-regulated section of the forum. But it's unclear if you have a lease or not, or if this is a regular apartment or room. It's also unclear what you mean by "eviction letter."

In my opinion, the LL would not avoid liability by your signing a release. And I don't think he can require you to sign (whether it would be enforceable or not) in the middle of a lease. But he could make it a term of a subsequent lease.

However, on the other hand, if he rented you an illegal apartment, you might have problems.

If you are a roommate where the prime tenant is acting as your landlord, then your rights might be different. But while units require two means of egress, not all rooms within an apartment require two means of egress.

I would not draft a different liability relases as it's unclear if you should sign ANY such release if you are a roommate, or if the room requires a separate fire escape if the apartment already has one.

I am willing to acknowledge that I have no fire escape and it's my responsibility to escape in case of a fire.


Do not sign anything like that.

There are many lawyers out there, but many do not know tenant laws. I'd consult with an expert, not a friend. Do you qualify for Legal Aid or Legal Services?

First you need to establish what kind of tenant you are to see what rights you have, then determine if the room or unit really does require a fire escape. Then you can devise a strategy to quiet things down.
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Postby ladydaybh » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:12 am

Thank you for responding.

I'm assuming you're not regulated since you're posting in the non-regulated section of the forum. But it's unclear if you have a lease or not, or if this is a regular apartment or room. It's also unclear what you mean by "eviction letter."


I live in a co-op that is being rented by the owner. I originally started with a six month lease that turned to a month-to-month. The apartment is a one bedroom apartment that the owner turned into a two bedroom (with no living room, because my room used to be the living room I just found out). He posted a thirty day "Eviction Notice" on my door and sent it as an email.

However, on the other hand, if he rented you an illegal apartment, you might have problems.


What makes it an illegal apartment? And what kind of problems are you referring to?

But while units require two means of egress, not all rooms within an apartment require two means of egress.


Please explain which ones are not. Please!

Do you qualify for Legal Aid or Legal Services?


I will call 311 and see where I can inquire.

First you need to establish what kind of tenant you are to see what rights you have, then determine if the room or unit really does require a fire escape. Then you can devise a strategy to quiet things down.


What the LL explained to me is that the new management company came in to visit the apt and explained that the door needs to be taken down because there is no fire escape in my window.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Hi All
Correct me if I'm wrong here but based upon your post I'm under the impression you & another person rent rooms from a share holder and the SH built a wall with a door to make the LR into a room?
There may be more than removing a door. I'm not certain about coop's but to the best of my knowledge it's illegal to have a wall. Google illegal conversions.
I realize your in a bind to find another place so if the SH will/can get the smoker out can you take the bedroom? Will they switch rooms while your looking? I'm thinking also that the other roomer cannot/should not have a lock on their door to permit you access to the room window.
While the board may be flexiable & asked for only the door (I highly question that) a can of worms opened will result in the entire room returned to orginal eventually.
Respectfully, if your concerned about fire you should not be there and keep looking.
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Postby ladydaybh » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:44 pm

Emeraldstar wrote:Hi All
Correct me if I'm wrong here but based upon your post I'm under the impression you & another person rent rooms from a share holder and the SH built a wall with a door to make the LR into a room?
There may be more than removing a door. I'm not certain about coop's but to the best of my knowledge it's illegal to have a wall. Google illegal conversions.
I realize your in a bind to find another place so if the SH will/can get the smoker out can you take the bedroom? Will they switch rooms while your looking? I'm thinking also that the other roomer cannot/should not have a lock on their door to permit you access to the room window.
While the board may be flexiable & asked for only the door (I highly question that) a can of worms opened will result in the entire room returned to orginal eventually.
Respectfully, if your concerned about fire you should not be there and keep looking.


Thank you for responding Esmeraldstar. The wall is legal, it is part of how the place was built (they literally built each into rooms), it's the door on the living room that was not originally there and was asked to be removed.

I have been thinking about asking him to remove the smoker and let me rent the room or to let us switch rooms. I'm not sure if he would go for it...

I honestly had no clue there was a fire issue, like I said before, I was unaware of NY fire safety rules. I really thought that if something happened, I'd just go through the room with the fire escape...guess not...

So from your response and Tenant's response, I'm essentially in an illegal room...? I REALLY can't move right now and I don't want to get into a legal fight here. I just need to be here until a few months after I give birth which is right smack in the middle of winter...
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Postby Emeraldstar » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:34 pm

Hi All
I see what you mean about the wall/door. No the room is not illegal now that the door is off. Good luck & I hope the LL will make the switch if it keeps the peace until you find another place.
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:00 am

I live in a co-op that is being rented by the owner. I originally started with a six month lease that turned to a month-to-month. The apartment is a one bedroom apartment that the owner turned into a two bedroom (with no living room, because my room used to be the living room I just found out). He posted a thirty day "Eviction Notice" on my door and sent it as an email.


Again, not clear. Do you rent the entire apartment? Are you a roommate (licensee) to a prime tenant? Or is the LL renting two rooms separately to two people who otherwise don't know each other?

What the LL explained to me is that the new management company came in to visit the apt and explained that the door needs to be taken down because there is no fire escape in my window.


What do you mean by "door taken down?" You still don't make it clear.

While what I said above is accurate, there are situations where illegal conversions can make things illegal.

Take a look at (in this order):

http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7741
http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7796
http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5973

These articles - especially the first - might provide some context.
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Postby ronin » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:22 pm

That waiver of liability would most likely prove the LL was aware of the problem and increase his liability. It sounds to me like you have an illegal conversion, but you haven't made it clear who you are renting from. I can guess that the smoker is someone in the apartment that you didn't know, but it is only a guess. You need to answer Tenant's questions.

If you have a lawyer friend you might want him to write the LL a letter that his apartment is illegal (maybe- find out) and that the waiver is illegal and a form of intimidation causing emotional distress for which he will be sued....

Find some way to take the offensive in this situation.


IMHO
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