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Re: Illegal apartment??

Posted by Mr. B on March 23, 1999 at 23:18:39:

In Reply to: Re: Illegal apartment?? posted by JohnF on March 23, 1999 at 14:46:46:

: : : What constitutes a multiple dwelling. I live in a 2 family (??) house. The owners prior to this LL constructed an addition of 2 more apartments in the rear of the house, it was converted from a garage. The certificate of occupancy doed not reflect this. This is a corner house, with multiple addresses, (Avenue and street).

: : : My questions are:

: : : 1) What is the status of this house? What catagory does this house fall into.(Private ??? or something else ???)

: : : 2) I received a holdover petition today, and it claims this a 2 family house, but there are the 2 illegal apartments, one of which is occupied. What is my recourse?

: :
: : To find out what the status of the house is, you need to check the Certificate of Occupancy or obtain a property profile overview from the Dept of Buildings. You can obtain the overview by fax by going to the Dept of Buildings website (
: : If this is a two family house and they have 2 illegal apartments, then this property could be deemed a defacto illegal multiple dwelling which basically means that technically it's a 2 family, but it's being used as a multiple dwelling. This is an important distinction, because if it is deemed an illegal multiple dwelling, the landlord CANNOT take you to housing court, cannot initiate a holdover proceeding, and cannot use housing court at all. You could call the Dept of buildings and get them to conduct an inspection. By the way, do you knwo if the apt you're living in is legal? Because if it isn't, you might be asked to leave because the DOB might label the apt unsafe for habitation. I suggest you check out Claire Shulmans web page on illegal conversions at (
: : After you do this little bit of reserach you should have a better idea where you stand.

: : The Apt I live in is one of the original ones that were not built after the original construction of the house. I have a C of O and it says that it is a 2 family house, I also checked for the address of the illegal address, and there is no C of O for this add. I also have cooperation of the tenant living in the "Illegal" apt.

: Thanks for the link, and the information, it is very useful.

It seems like you've got an illegal multiple dwelling scenario here. Normally any holdover or non-payment pursuit by the landlord will be thrown out of housing court. However, being that a holdover petition is a legal notice, and you should never ignore these, I suggest you call the Queens Legal Services Corp.
89-02 Sutphin Boulevard
Jamaica, New York 11435
(718) 657-8611
This is a FREE non-profit legal guidance co set up to help tenants who are about to get screwed by an unscrupulous landlord. If you don't live in Queens, still give them a call -- they might be able to direct you to a similar organization in your area.

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