Posted by Israel on April 17, 1998 at 13:54:58:
In Reply to: Re: No lease, building being sold posted by M Durand on April 16, 1998 at 22:41:25:
While every situation is different, let me tell you what happened to me.
I lived in a 3 family Multiple dwelling and the landlord (without notice) sold the building. The new owner sent in a real estate person to deliver letters demanding payment and to our surprise after request for repairs, the owner changed real estate companies. The confusion cause a lot of fustration between the other tenants and myself, because we never met the new owners. Building registration was still on the old landlord, the deed was still on the old landlord and different people visited the building demanding access to view and gain confidence with the tenants, which fustrated us.
At which time we withheld our rent because we didn't know who we were paying rent to.
Then came the Court papers... The other tenants were afraid of getting evicted and I explained to them once they show proof of ownership in front of a Judge, we could start paying rent. The other tenants were intimidated by the real estate people and signed an agreement before going to court. The agreement stated they would move out in three months and live rent free. 3 X $600 = $1800 to move sounded good on paper. I disagreed with the other tenants and prepared myself for trial.
My case started simple: they demanded rent and I demanded repairs.... To any Judge this case was simple. I Just had to trust the new owners... but because I didn't. (when you first go to court you go before a Judge to talk it out, if there is no resolution then you go to trial) the case went to trial.
The attorney for the landlord didn't bring proof of ownership, a deed or a copy of the building registration. I went to the building department to dig up information and could not find any. When I returned home the services from the building was shut off (hot water, hallway lights, mailboxes were taken and the boiler was damaged). The other tenants cursed me for upsetting the new landlord and demanded I fix things with them... I called HPD and they show in their records the previous owner as the owner.
During the trial the Landlords attorney showed proof of ownership (a copy of a deed) and the building registration. I was pleased and requested dates for my violations to be corrected. The Judge agreed and the problem was solved, to my understanding.
My repairs were never done... I later discovered that the registration the attorney showed in court was void for lack of payment and filled out incomplete. Which left the previous owner as the registered one. My complaints to HPD were going to the wrong person, and the real estate knew it, the landlord knew it and the attorney knew it. I returned to court to resolve this dispute. I wanted my repairs and the Judge didn't cared. So I started an HP Action (you take the landlord to court for lack of services and repairs). Paid $35 dollars and got a court date.
By this time court inspectors visited my apartment and the real estate company changed again, and when we went to court, the Judge ruled in my favor and ordered the landlord to make my repairs...
No chance, the landlord knew what he was doing. HPD sent violation notices to the wrong landlord (Who they currently have on record) and sent inspectors to verify the conditions. Thugs started to harras the other tenants... I lived on the last floor (remember we didn't have services), so I filed paperwork with the Human Rights Commision, called everybody who had anything to do with politics and asked for assistance. Nothing happened.
Windows were broken, threats have been made and services were cut routinely (HPD made repairs to the building and billed the previous landlord)
The other tenants left the building after receiving assistance from a local community organization... (they had to move in a hurry, three months was almost up) because, they couldn't find a decent place to live.
I fought... I returned to HP Action court and explained to the Judge what had happened. The attorney lied and stated that we didn't allow them access to our apartments... The Judge warned the attorney of the situation and ordered him again to make repairs ----- after a couple of move court dates the Judge FINED the Landlord $14,880 for non-compliance of a Judges orders. I was happy with that. I had withheld my rent for over 12 months and kept the money due to lack of services.
My only down fall was that my lease had ran out and I lived in a three family multiple dwelling. The LAW states if the building has 3 or less apartments or 4 with a landlord occupant, I can't claim retalitory eviction.
So the Judge allowed me time and I moved.
Your case my not be this bad, but prepare yourself and don't accept anyone as the owner unless they show you proof. Of course call a lawyer, I can give you the name of the one who fought for me. (and I used the back rent to pay him, so I didn't loose anything, but sleep)
: It's a four apartment building (four floors). Since I posted this notice, we've
: been "accidentally" locked out of our apartment. Also, the landlord now wants
: us to let in a real estate agent to look around. Should I let this agent in, or
: wait until I've talked to a lawyer? I plan to call a lawyer tomorrow, since
: the agent wants in by the next two days.
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