Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kensington Tenant Being Evicted for Complaining About Heat?

This email was circulated yesterday via the Park Slope Parents group and sent along to us by a reader along with a couple of responses. It is written by a Kensington resident, occupying an apartment on a month-to-month basis, who may be losing her place. She says her landlord would like to evict her from her apartment, possibly because she complained about "inconsistency of heat." The email carried the subject line "I'm being evicted with no reason - and I have a baby - I need help." Here it is:
I've been living in Kensington in the same apartment for 3 years, the same apartment where my husband has been at for 7 years, and we just received an eviction notice from our landlords. I need to find out what are our rights.

We live on the top floor of a 2-family home, our landlord lives downstairs. We don't have a lease, it has been a month to month agreement, and we have never skipped on the rent. We have been sharing satellite tv, internet, it has been a very good relationship so far.

Last week, we had to leave the landlord a letter because of the inconsistency of heat in the apartment. I was very worried that my 6-month old son would get sick in what traditionally has been a pretty cold environment in winter.

I do not know if my landlords are being vindictive, but it came as a surprise that 5 days after we told them we needed more heat, they came to our apartment on Friday the 16th at night, and told us that we have until January 15th to move out because they have some family members moving in.

Can anyone help us? It really hurts that they're doing this right before holidays season, and they know that we take a 2-week vacation out of the country, which will make it hard for us to get a place. Thank you in advance for anyone who can assist me.
A follow-up email indicated that per New York regulations, a month-to-month tenancy can be terminated with 30 days notice, although any eviction can be challenged in court and, likely, be delayed for a few months. A PDF of frequently asked tenants rights questions and answers from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is available by clicking here (WARNING PDF). It's a little off the mark in terms of this specific question, but an interesting document nonetheless, that provides authoritative answers to a number of questions.



Anonymous red hook said...

Please let the tenant know that no housing judge is going to send them out on the street with 30 days notice. It doesn't matter what the lease or the law says.

The judge will probably give the tenant three to six months to find new housing.

FURTHER, if it is an illegal apartment (sounds like it might be), the tenant can sue for ALL of their rent to be returned.

That's right, all of it. So give your landlord something to chew on.

And even if your dwelling seem very much like a real apartment, you'd be surprised how many such dwellings are in fact illegal.

Good luck.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous J$ said...

That's doesn't sound like an eviction, but a (legal) lease termination. and 60 days notice is plenty of time to find housing. In fact, it would be difficult to even find a place now for Jan 15th since most places don't even go on the market until a month before they are available. Signing a lease provides you more protection than a month to month agreement. I'm sorry this is interfering with your 2 week vacation out of the country- must be hard.

12:20 AM  

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