Posted by Maryann on April 20, 1997 at 10:45:08:
I stumbled across this website. This is a situation that is in New York State, but not in NYC, but rather just a city in upstate NY, nor do I believe, in a rent-controlled apartment. I can't find anything else that appears to be so informative.
This deals with a two-family house which my dad now owns. My parents lived only two miles away. They were never trying to make huge amounts of money on this house, but rather it is just something they held onto when they bought a one family.(it's been in the family for 80 years and my children are the 4th generation living in it--we happen to live in the upper flat, but that fact has no direct bearing on the question). My parents, specifically my mother who has done the talking, bookeeping, etc., have always been super landlords, even to go so far as to let tenants pay twice a month if it was preferable to their (the tenants) financial situation. Parents have never had to evict. Well, the current tenant moved in in August 1995. This is a month-to-month tenancy thing. He is single guy about 25 yrs. old. I won't even go into the history of missing food from our locked freezer, nor his failure to properly sort his trash and recyclables as required by the city, nor will I go into details about a stolen wrapped Xmas present--no sign of forced entry, nor will I go into detail about his keeping windows open in winter while my parents have paid the heat bills--particularly tenant and friend would have them open in order to help get rid of the odor of marijuana the were smoking.
My mother was a super excellent record keeper. In July of 1996 she suffered a massive heart attack. In August the tenant made a rent payment. By Sept my mother was feeling extremely weak and not eating. She was rushed to the hospital in mid-December and it was found that she had terminal cancer. She returned home in February and got weaker, until she finally died earlier this month. I provide this information so you understand why she did not do anything sooner. My elderly dad is showing signs of aging. Earlier this year he didn't distinguish between his inspection sticker vs. his registration sticker on his car. Now he answers me by giving me my phone number in reply to my question of what is social security number. Between his health, and his having to take care of my mother, he hasn't been involved in rhe tenant issue here.
Through a cousin looking over income tax filing stuff, it was verified that this tenant has not paid rent since August 1996. He owes a WHOPPING $4,000!!!! Here's a tenant who was provided new wallpaper, new carpeting (for which he'd put snowblowers on and clean them with gasoline), new paint, a beautiful place to live, and here is this tenant who takes advantage of my parents. According to my father, the tenant went to my parents house in March and said he would be back the next day to pay. He did this three days ago too. And still he hasn't paid his rent. By accident we learned he hasn't paid the electricity on his flat in a WHOPPING 11 months, but of course, you know that despite that long period of time, this young, healthy pot smoking tenant who moves from job to job, was allowed to not pay his electricity for a long length of time while the electric company is prhibited by law from turning his power off between about October and April. As the tenant will never pay, you know the rest of us who pay honestly and on time will have his non-payment spread among all NiMo customers.
Certainly my dad wants to get rid of him, but my mom did everything. What do we do to get rid of him. Unfortunately, due to my mother's terminal illness and everything my dad had to do, and my lack of knowledge about this has made this a situation where no written requests nor written confirmation of conversations between my mother and the tenant have been kept. The only thing that shows is no rent receipts written after August 1996. My father wants him out ASAP. Can my father tell him to "leave tomorrow"? Or do tenants rights stuff require my father to go without rent for a long time on this? Can the tenant make a stupid claim such as "well, they didn't make me pay all these months, so it was obvious that I was able to live here without paying rent". What rights and protections do the landlords have? I'm sure my dad can sue in court for the rent, but who protects the landlord here. Once a judgement against the tenant could be obtained, who goes after the tenant. By accident I got his social security number. Can my dad get his wages garnished? Can my dad find out where he is working when he quits this job and moves on? Unforunately, this is no small amount of money. Considering the vast amounts of money my parents put into fixing up this flat and the high property taxes, what right does a tenant have to freeload?
Now, lastly, my dad indicated he may "turn everything over to my husband and he"--being landlords, I guess. From everything I've read, heard, spoke to with neighbors, etc, I have the following questions on how to protect ourselves when and if we become landlords. How much information can we obtain from a prospective tenant? Do we have a right to their social security number in order to track them down if they skip out? Can we verify who they are through driver's license info or other info? Because the city has various codes and ordinances which include doing something to landlords who rent to drug dealers (and rightfully so), would we in our attempt to be a responsible landlord, have ANY right to the prospective tenant's criminal records, specifically drug dealing, so that we may then decide we don't want to rent to them thus avoiding any problems to us in the future? Do we have rights to a prospective tenants credit record so that we may be able to make an informed decision on the possiblity of a prospective tenant paying the rent? I know we can "get references", but how can we verify that these "references" are not friends of the prospective tenants who are just trying to help a friend out? I would NEVER talk to a currrent landlord of a prospective tenant--they would certainly give a glowing reference for a lousy tenant, just to get rid of the tenant. How do we know that we are getting valid references? Can either leases or month-to month tenancy agreements specify little things such as tenant must replace lightbulbs, tenant must wash kitchen floor once a month, tenant must clean stove every day--meaning the top where grease goes, as well as cleaning the oven at least every month, tenant must regularly wash toilet bowl, tenant must regularly clean refrigerator--meaning washing it inside, tenant must wash windows twice a year, tenant must pull storm windows down, tenant must sort trash, etc? Some of these things are so trivial, but if I become a landlord, I refuse to become the tenants personal maid. And believe me, most long time homeowners of two-family homes in this old neighborhood don't want to rent anymore because of the problems, and I personally know numerous people who have been evicted from municipal housing for living like pigs and never cleaning?
Thanks for any help.
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