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Is My Apartment Illegal?

Posted by Lou on August 17, 2001 at 20:21:12:

I live in a 2 family private house in the Bronx. The house was built in 1903 and was later converted into a 2 family dwelling. I live on the 2nd floor, not in the basement or attic or anything, the zoning is OK. But I went to the Dept. of Buildings and they said that there was never a certificate of occupancy filed for my apt. or for the house even though my landlord bought the place and renovated it after 1938, which is when the lady I spoke to at the Dept. of Buildings said the law requiring certificates of occupancy went into effect. Obviously they aren't claiming the rent on their taxes, but does that make this apartment an illegal apartment? I am asking because we (me and the landlord) are not getting along, and I've been looking for a place to go, but he's been threatening to throw me out. I want to know if I can use the "illegal apartment" defense in court if the guy actually evicts me instead of just threatening to. (Hopefully I will find somewhere else to live before it comes to that -- any good leads on apts. are welcome!!)

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