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no lease given, is this legal in NYC?

Posted by Tara on March 05, 2001 at 19:38:42:

Help! I feel really bad about this. My brother just rented his 1st apartment in Richmond Hill, Queens. He gave the landlord 3 months' security and 1 month rent for March and received receipts. In return the landlord gave him keys and a notarized letter stating that my brother is the tenant at a rent of $xxx and in the letter it said "this is not a lease, there is no lease." The landlord said that is how he does it with everyone and assured my brother that as long as he pays the rent, he can stay, and after 1 year, the rent will be raised 4%. He also told my brother than if he wants to move out, he should give 30 days notice.

It is so hard to find a place in NYC, especially for someone young with no credit rating, etc. This landlord also let him have his dog and most of the places he has tried would not.

I suppose the landlord insisted on doing this because he thinks my brother will have no rights? I live in Nassau County and am ignorant of the NYC housing laws, except that they are much better than the ones we have here.

Is this going to be major trouble for my brother in the future? Does the absence of a lease mean that my brother has no rights as a tenant? Thanks for any and all advice you can give!

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