Posted by Larry Auerbach on August 04, 1998 at 01:49:59:
In Reply to: Re: home office theaten eviction posted by Tenantnet on August 02, 1998 at 13:44:12:
: : can the landlord theaten eviction for having a home office.
: : my friend is an artist who uses a mac to do computer art and the landlord is complaining about him having machines
: : in his home.
: Some localities (i.e., Los Angeles) apparently have laws against
: working at home (even if you own the home). But there is no such
: law in NY. What matters is if you cause problems, such as noise,
: extra garbage. If you have customers come regularly, if you hang
: out a sign or advertise with the location, that might be a problem.
: There is no law against having computers in one's home and it's none
: of the landlord's business what one does with them. If the landlord
: has a valid claim of nuisance, then that's another matter, but typing
: on a computer will get the landlord laughed out of court. Make him
: specify what the nuisance is.
I'm the friend with the home office problem, also the guy who
posted inquiring if I owe back rent or not a couple of days ago.
The lawyer for the estate of my dead landlord sent a letter
recently, accusing that I have converted two rooms of my rent-
stabilized apartment into commercial space, including absurdities
such as that my mailbox is often stuffed with business mail, etc.,
and that I must cure this situation or face possible eviction.
I use two rooms of my 4 room railroad apartment in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn (NYC) as my studio space,in which I work on my Mac to
do illustration, publishing projects and my digital fine art,
separated from the other half of my apartment by a door (I did
not install the door or change the layout of my apartment) so
I can indisputably claim the space as a tax deduction.
I've been doing this for over five years with no complaint from
anyone. There's no commercial traffic here, other than the occasional
Fedex or UPS delivery and very rare messenger, and on the infrequent
days that my mailbox is full,it's because I subscribe to many magazines
and receive alot of computer-related catalogs and junk mail. This
inconveniences no one.
I examined my leases thru 1996 and saw no clause forbidding a
home-based business, and my deceased landlord was aware of my
computer setup and never objected. Several of us in the building
were on rent strike and had been to court repeatedly with this
landlord when he died, not leaving a will. The building floated
in limbo for over a year-- we formed a tenants association and
paid for the buildings electric and gas bills. A few months ago,
relatives of this dead landlord were appointed executors of his
estate, and repairs commenced in April to address violations in
this building. A couple of weeks ago, I received the above-mentioned
letter from the attorney for the estate. The building was sold the
following day, and the new owners are pressing on with this complaint
(a similar complaint was mailed to another tenant in this building),
I imagine with the intent of attempting to successfully evict one of
us so they can empty an apartment, renovate, and charge market rent
(this is being done in one of the apartments in the building).
Sorry if I've blabbered for too long, but it's a twisty tale. I have
an attorney already, but would love any comments,advice, reassurance
or information to strengthen my defense in this uncomfortable
situation I'm in.
Thanks very very much to anyone who reads this and responds.
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