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Eviction from illegal (?) unit

Posted by Craig Root on December 11, 2001 at 10:47:32:


I wonder if anyone could give me some information that would help me to take the best course of action in my present circumstances.

This is my situation. I live in Queens (Astoria, Long Island City) New York. I've lived in a basement apartment for the last 3 years or so. I have no written lease agreement; I just pay the rent every month, sometimes two months at a time, and keep the receipts.

A few weeks ago a few minutes after I had come home for work in the evening there was a knock on my door. A man who said he was with the Building Inspection department or the Building Department of New York, and who was apparently legitimate (he wore a badge on a string around his neck) asked to see my room and briefly took some notes about the size of the room etc. With him was my building super, who had apparently let him into the building.

A few days later the building super said to me that all the people living in the basement units would have to leave by the end of the end of December. (This was approximately on the 5th of December.)
The reason he gave was that the city building department (or whatever) had found the units to be illegal, and the landlord was going to court in January and wanted everyone out when he did so.

If I do have to go, I would like a little more notice than the approximately 26 days I was (informally) given by the super. For one thing, having to look for an appartment so that I have a place to live come January 1st is pretty much destroying my Christmas vacation plans. I have received no official written notice from the landlord; certainly nothing documenting the city's action.

Does anybody know whether the landlord is obliged to give me 30 days written notice? Would I be within my rights to stay for 30 days after such written notice (as yet not yet received). Or does the super's telling me that the landlord wants everyone out by the end of the month constitute a notice to quit?

I'd appreciate any insight into the issue. I just resent having to leave at Christmas time with such short notice.

Or if anyone knows where I could go for some inexpensive legal advice, that would be helpful too.



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