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how to interpret rs building violation history

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby rentstabilized1 » Tue May 25, 2021 7:34 pm

I lived in a rent stabilized apt for 17 yrs.

There are a few issues with my apartment. There is a food vent system on top of my bedroom (i am on the top flr and there is a restaurant downstairs) and it's on 10-12 hrs a day causing vibration and low frequency noise in my apartment. There has been some back and forth with the LL and the restaurant and i just want to leave. There are other issues with the apartment but this is one of the biggest. (some other issues, my mailbox is broken and i cannot get my mail there for the last 4 years which has been a mess and i had to get a PO box. Someone came in my apartment while i was away during Covid and took a s**t in my bathroom and my landlord won't let me install a top lock saying its illegal and he is the only with a key, we have roach problem in the building and mice from the restaurant below list goes on) I love my apartment and the area but getting older and just can't stand it.

So I am apartment hunting and found an apartment i really love, recently renovated with new windows and mailboxes, very clean building and is rent stabilized and the same rent as mine although a bit smaller.
I met with a broker who showed me the apartment, did not meet the landlord.

However, i did some research on the city's website under the building address and found numerous complaints specific to the unit i am about to rent with remarks such as "no heat", "cracked steam pipe", "radiator broken or missing".

The landlord did not register his building in the last couple of years, so the complaint history is only up until 2017.
As i mentioned all the complaints in the building are from this unit. I cannot however verify if they are closed or a if a violation was issued. What is the best way to verify this and with which agency? Currently i am using two websites: I can't reach the info on HPD.

https://whoownswhat.justfix.nyc/en/
https://www.addressreport.com/

I saw the apartment last week and the landlord clearly redid the bathroom, the kitchen, replaced the windows and everything inside including all appliances are new. But the kitchen floors were laminated and felt a bit squishy when walking on them, when the rest of the apartment is shiny hardwood floors. The radiator valve in the kitchen was broken and there was a wash cloth underneath with leak stain from it and also on the laminate floor, even though the laminate floors are new, i could see the leak stain on the floor. I wonder if he just did laminate because there was mold on the subfloor from previous leaks. Anyway, i am getting paranoid already.

The building itself is a prewar. I am assuming when the tenant left the unit it went into full renovation and these problems were remedied however part of me is still worried that the landlord fixed the cosmetics and the radiators, pipes or heat in general may continue to be an issue.

Is there any way to verify that? I saw the apartment twice and both times the temps were in the 70's so i could not verify if the radiators were working or not.

I plan to be there for a while and it is a big commitment for me to move, especially after 17 years. Another issue I have in my current apartment is no or very little heat most of winter and drafty windows. I find myself wear 3 sweaters and my electric bill is always so high in the winter from having almost no heat. My landlord replaced the boiler last year but we still have this issue in my building so i didn't want to move elsewhere to be in a similar situation.

Thank you!
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 26, 2021 2:55 am

Time to stop being a victim, right? Noise from a fan should be a violation. These are difficult as they are intermittent and low-frequency and low-volume, but they are very annoying. I would complain constantly to the LL, to the restaurant, to HPD, DOB and Dept. Environmental Protection. Don't rely just on 311. Call your electeds and community board. We had this years ago, but in the adjacent building. Keep after them. More people the better so they won't label you a crank.

USPS, go after the Postal Service, your local station and the main NYC District Office, 212-330-3600. See https://about.usps.com/what/business-se ... .htm?st=NY

I would call your local station, but don't stop there. Go to the higher-ups.

Last I checked, the District Manager is Lorraine Castellano, but that might have changed. It used to be at 421 Eighth Ave. (the Farley P.O. - the Main P.O). But again, that might have changed.

We had problems with mail delivery. Have them come in and investigate. If not up to snuff, they will stop mail delivery to the entire building and you can put tremendous pressure on the LL to get it all fixed. In the short term, tenants might be pissed, but in the long term it will help them. It's the LL's obligation to provide mail boxes that are up-to-snuff. If the delivery workers can't in the building, demand they install a "key keeper."

Yes, you are allowed to add a second lock. The LL must supply one lock when you rent the place, but you can add more. If you are handy, you don't have to pay a locksmith and can do it yourself ... but make sure you know what you are doing and have the right tools.

For a new place, there is legislation pending that might prevent them charging broker fees.

As for the complaints and violations, I would take them seriously. Ask other tenants in the new building before you move in. Do your research.

When you say the LL didn't register the building, if this is RS, then there are 6 or more units in the building, but DHCR does not track problems like that.

That would be HPD. Look on their database. https://hpdonline.hpdnyc.org/HPDonline/ ... mdown.aspx
or https://data.cityofnewyork.us/Housing-D ... -dwi5/data
But HPD does not require yearly registrations, so I don't know what you mean.

The problem with web site like address report and justfix is that they don't really tell you the story. They only tell you what's in the city database, which is a joke. Not will they tell you if the LL harasses tenants or if they take people to court on baseless charges. No site can tell you that.

If you have the time you can research Ecourts or https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/iscrol ... lRecaptcha and research the court cases involving the LL.

But again, nothing will be a complete story.

Squishy floors? That might mean the LL just put in new tiles over the old ones. That won't last long. New and shiny does not mean quality. You can't verify everything.

In your current unit, you say your electric bill is high.

You say the LL replaced the boiler last year, then why would this impact electrical usage? Is there still a central boiler for heat? Was there also a MCI and rent increase?
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby rentstabilized1 » Wed May 26, 2021 2:28 pm

Thank you for your reply and feedback! I appreciate it!
About the fan: 311 did not find a violation saying that they cannot measure low frequency sound and vibration. I was speaking to another neighbour about this (in the same neighbourhood but in another building, she just left after 24 years in her rs apt because of the same issue and she had very good income so she asked around lawyers etc and got nowhere) I am in touch with the district council.
But there are a total of 7 restaurants where i am and the one above my head is the the most annoying with its fan and smell but all my 6 windows in different parts of my apartment (two bedrooms in either side, kitchen window, and living room windows all) face a restaurant vent at this point since this is the tallest building in this corner and because of the amount of recently opened restaurants here (when i say recent, i mean over the past 10-12 yrs)
About mailboxes; unfortunately our post office is notorious for lost mail etc and i think there was already some investigation under for them as far what i read in a local newspaper. I spoke to the managers for years and got nowhere. Yes i can insist and be more assertive but it turned into a full time job at some point.
I am not being a victim though, i just want to get out. That's how i am choosing to handle it.
Unless i get a buy out but we have a building full of rs residents and i would doubt a sale would happen with this many (20 units out of 25) rs tenants in the building especially with senior citizens. So i was hoping to find a little precious Covid deal for myself.
About the new apt, thank you so much for the link of the NYC open data but how do i actually search the building on there, how do i know the building ID?? When i mean registered, i mean the LL didn't file a registar as he is required every year with HPD.
And the electric bill is high because of my electrical heater that is overworked since we hardly have heat in my apartment. It is not building wide though. My unit and nextdoor and nexdoor calls 311 a lot for no heat but still we have this problem since i moved here.
With justfix you can see LL harassment and court record if any.
also, 2 of the 3 links you sent don't open and yes you have to register your building with HPD every year for sure
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 26, 2021 8:58 pm

I'll try to look at this later, but please try to keep things short(er) and use spaced paragraphs to make it readable. Thanks.
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby rentstabilized1 » Wed May 26, 2021 9:11 pm

keep what things short? Sorry for taking too much space here! I am trying to answer the things you mentioned.
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby TenantNet » Thu May 27, 2021 6:45 am

When we ask for shorter posts, it's often because of readability issues and too much detail. We don't need details on every little thing to get to the core of the issue. If we want more detail, we'll ask.

We ask for full words, not mobile texting abbreviations (you didn't do this, but some do), capitalized sentences and space between paragraphs for readability, not only for us, but for others. A blank line between paragraphs helps people with reading, especially the elderly. The forum is a teaching tool.

Actually the NYC Dept of Environmental Protection can measure sound (I've done that). 311 is a joke and the only reason to call them is to get a complaint on record. We recommend you follow-up with complaints to the agency or division heads.

I don't know what you mean by "District Council" unless you meant Community Board. We suggested the District Manager for the USPS, not the fan issue.

Restaurant exhaust (the chimney openings, not the actual fan) must be at least 3 feet above roof of the building it's in and a certain number of feet away from "open receptors," meaning windows of nearby buildings. There are complicated formulas for this (see the NYC Building Code). but it might be that the chimney isn't tall enough. The fan mechanism can be anywhere, but it's a noise issue. I had this problem years ago with a restaurant behind me and it took constant complaining to the restaurant from myself and others, and to the building's owner, violations placed. We were about to picket the restaurant (patrons do not like this) when they finally added a shroud around the fan mechanism. It's difficult, but not impossible.

BTW, the number of restaurants in NYC (pre-covid) doubled from 2000-2020. That's part of the problem. We're not anti-restaurant, but too many can lead to this and other problems. Complain to your local council member (and those running for office) as they are doing everything to bring in mores restaurants.

On the USPS, I gave you the Manhattan District Manager's office. Most local stations are unresponsive. Be sure to describe the problem accurately-so they know how to fix it.

As for buyouts, see https://www.brickunderground.com/rent/c ... as-changed

They aren't that common and the amount isn't all that great unless you're blocking a new building. Plus you would pay a percentage to your attorney and taxes. Without an experienced attorney, you would get less. But the problems you describe don't prompt a LL to open his wallet to a great degree.

You might find a deal from a Covid vacancy elsewhere, but that window is closing.

I was wrong on the HPD registration. But that's more of a fee payment and I've yet to see a downside for lack of HPD registration. It's common, even the NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams - himself a slumlord) refuses to register with HPD.

DHCR does require yearly registration of all RS units.

"And the electric bill is high because of my electrical heater that is overworked since we hardly have heat in my apartment."

Is this a supplement heater that you provide only because the building heat is low? Or is this the heater provided by the LL. If no (or low) heat from the landlord, call 311, keep a diary of temperatures inside and outside and dates and times. You have to make a lot of noise on this issue, and you are not alone.

Justfix merely looks at the city's database. Nothing else. Yes, there are rules on harassment, but they are rarely enforced. You will not find the real story of a building or apartment on Justfix or any clones. You have to dig deeper. But when you do see actual violations, you can probably infer the problem is much more than that once instance.

For NYS Supreme court, google "scroll court" and use that link. (or try https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/iscroll/)

The HPD link does have problems (they usually update overnight). But be persistent on that.
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Re: how to interpret rs building violation history

Postby rentstabilized1 » Thu May 27, 2021 11:38 am

To keep it short per your request, regarding the vent; i am talking about *vibration and *low frequency humming/ noise from the vent above me. That they are not able to measure. DEP came and were able to measure the *noise from the vent facing my bedroom window in the adjacent building and issued a fine to them but the vent above me which causes *vibration* as well as *low humming frequency noise*, they were not able to measure that.

To make it clear; i am not complaining about restaurants in general, i live on a very busy commercial street and on the top floor hence i am exposed to their vent systems. It is not something my landlord has control over or the city council. That's why i am considering moving because i get smoke from 4 different vents (in addition to the vent above my building) . 5 min down the block is not like this but of course it affects air quality and is a concern for general public health, however if i can move i rather do that rather than fighting 4 restaurants in different building all at the same time. I am not too lazy to fight but i also try to not lose common sense and preserve my mental health along the way. The neighbour next door or downstairs from me is not affected for example because of the direction they are facing or by being on a lower floor so I can't get others to join me for a collective fight.

The HPD registration is mandatory and required but the LL may not do it if there is an overcharge, illegal conversation or something they are doing in the dark mostly. So that's that and feel free to dig in with the research if you care to know more.

By District Council, yes i mean NY City Council in my District. I am in touch regarding the vent issue (above me)

Electric heater is mine. It is because we have very little heat as i explained.

Fixit fetches info from all city sites. You can click on different sites on there.

I am not asking about harassment but you can see any litigation against the landlord there also.

I checked again and seems that the there were several complaints but no violations were issued. So maybe there was an issue but wasn't addressed somehow or there really was no issue but the tenant kept calling.

Thank you for all the other info.
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