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Re: Tenant Property in Public Areas of Building

Posted by TenantNet on July 28, 1997 at 18:20:06:

In Reply to: Tenant Property in Public Areas of Building posted by Nochum Klein on July 26, 1997 at 23:49:49:

: There are many families with young children and babies in my 4 storybuilding. Tenants have always kept strollers, baby carriages, and thelike in a public area of the building under the staircase where it is notan obstruction.Building management, citing a Housing Preservation & Development (HPD)violation that none of the tenants have actually seen, has announcedthat they will begin requiring tenants to remove these objects.Management has stated their intent to remove these objects if the tenantsdon't. There are pregnant women in our building who would be required todrag single/double strollers up four flights of steps.The question is: a) Does the management have the authority to remove tenant property? b) Since there is nothing in our leases relating to this, and tenants have been using the areas below the stairways for this purpose for many, many years, might we be able to force management to find another method of coming into compliance?Thanks for any help!Nochum

I think you have a problem. First, find out if there actually is
a violation. Go to HPD (I think it's 39 Broadway) and look at your
building's folder -- every building has a folder. Be prepared to
wait and suffer a bit of bureaucratic nonsense. They will charge you
an arm and a leg for a "certified" copy. If you can wait, either
your community board or local city councilperson can get the info
for you.

But in all honesty, I have heard before that it can be a violation
if things are underneath stairwells. I'm not sure why, but I think it's
a potential fire hazard. Again, check with your community board
which probably has a copy of the building and fire codes.

The obvious answer is that the owner should provide an alternative
storage area (basement?). You could file with DHCR for a loss of "storage"
service, but with the current corruption at that agency, I doubt you
will get anywhere (if you do, be prepared to wait till the kids are
in college).

Can they remove the objects? If it's to comply with a real violation,
then they probably can if they've given the tenants proper and reasonable
notice. (not just 24 hours) But make sure there's a real violation on
record -- landlords often invent such things. If your landlord isn't
a crook (there are a few honest ones around so I've heard), see if there's
a way to negotiate a suitable arrangement based on the inconvenience and
hardship you've indicated.

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