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Waiting on a non-payment eviction

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Waiting on a non-payment eviction

Postby Lydia » Fri Feb 24, 2023 12:07 pm


The landlord refused to accept this month's rent and returned my check via mail, so I'm waiting to be served with eviction papers.
To cut a very long story short, I have been living in this apartment for the past 10 years, I was given initially a RS lease, was then forced into month-to-month residency (I was lied to that my apartment is RS and I have nothing to worry about), then they tried to evict me but was able to negotiate a new contract which expires in Nov 2023. The landlord made sure that I would regret it, by harassing me ever since (interrupted heat service, creating a hostile environment by predisposing anyone I interact with- like other tenants and HPD inspectors, repairs that take months to be done or have never been done at all).
My question is, do I take them to court for harassment first after the last episode (returning my rent), or should I wait for the eviction?
Is it better to use the harassment and non-repairs history as a defense after they try to evict me?
The lawyer who represented me in the past refuses to help me in this case, and I'm partly to blame because I did not take it lightly that I was signing a non-RS lease when we had spent so much time on discovery and almost proving the status of my apartment.
I did find a new lawyer but he won't be able to meet with me before next week, and possibly after I am served with the eviction papers.
I would appreciate any advice as to how to act or not before I'm evicted, and any contact information of inexpensive tenant lawyers who really care about helping people keeping their homes.
Thank you for reading my post,

- Lydia
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2023 11:25 am

Re: Waiting on a non-payment eviction

Postby TenantNet » Fri Feb 24, 2023 1:01 pm

I know you can't go into all the details, but as you started out being RS, the LL can't just change that. How were you "forced" into a M2M situation? You would still be RS. M2M is when a lease expires and a LL accepts the rent, essentially creating a lease month-to-month. They can change that by proper notice, but not if the tenant is RS. Having said that, there are different ways to look at M2M. Even DHCR seems to sometimes recognize it, but you still have the benefits of a RS tenancy.

Have you gotten your rent history from DHCR? Start there.

Did you ever file with DHCR on the LL's refusal to give you a RS renewal lease?

Even if that wasn't the case, you say your current lease goes through November; they can't just change that without going to court, and even then there has to be a reason for termination.

Harassment is almost impossible to prove. I would drop that idea unless you catch them starting a fire or something equally egregious.

Non-repair (warranty of habitability) is a defense and counterclaim against a non-pay proceeding.

Who was the attorney you used in the past - and the new one? You can always tell us in private by using Private Mail (see the PM button).

Did you file for ERAP? If so, the LL supposedly can't file suit for a year. My understanding is that you don't have to have gotten the money, but if you filed. Also look to see if the LL filed for LRAP (that's the LL version).

LL's refusal to accept rent (or return it) is in itself a defense, called "tendered and refuse." His sending the check back to you does not mean he will immediately file a court case. And even then, when you get papers, you will have time to consult with your new lawyer. I would have the lawyer put in an answer; tenants are at risk when they do it themselves as the court clerks often leaves things out.

I would do nothing now except request your DHCR history. Talk with neighbors to find out the history of the unit. Even if you signed a non-RS lease, that does not mean you are not RS as long as the unit was not legally deregulated.

Look, if the LL takes you on a non-pay, that is all that's at issue. Put in the repair issues and tell the court the LL refused to accept rent and you're willing to pay right there and then. Judges do not evict tenants if they are willing to pay. Consult with the lawyer if it's best to file with DHCR on the RS lease issue. Just keep it simple, not complicated.
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Re: Waiting on a non-payment eviction

Postby Lydia » Fri Feb 24, 2023 2:32 pm

Thank you for replying to my post.

1) I was "forced" into a M2M situation when they refused to renew my lease (the 1st RS one). The LL explicitly stated that as a RS tenant I did not have to worry about being evicted because I was protected. I think they lied in this way so that they could ask for the yearly rent rises that RS law permits.

2) I contacted DHCR multiple times personally and through the "JustFix" app. The LL never filed with them and there is no rent history for my apartment or the entire building. I keep asking for it regardless.
Since there is no rent history, I could not file with DHCR after they refused to renew my lease.
(I believe that this apartment is RS for the following reasons:
built in 1931 / 8 units / discovery for previous case showed that they did not do "substantial rehabilitation" to claim non-RS status)

3) I was able to file a harassment claim almost a year ago when the LL placed a Ring camera (with audio and video recording, etc) on top of my apartment's door. This was in addition to hazardous conditions in my apartment, like a broken sagging floor with cracked tiles, and a broken thermostat that allowed the LL to control the temperature in my apart from the basement. A stipulation was signed and the camera was removed, but it took 4 months to comply with repairs and the HPD never inspected. Thus my hesitation to initiate another case for repairs, I am already blacklisted most probably.

4) I will PM you with the lawyers' info, thank you.

5) I did not file for ERAP, and I never refused to pay rent during the pandemic. I do have the LL admitting in writing that my rent was frozen for two years.

6) Thank you so much for the advice on how (not) to act at the moment, and for advising me to consult with the lawyer if it's best to file with DHCR on the RS lease issue.

I greatly appreciate all your advice and the time you dedicated replying to me.
Thank you,

- Lydia
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2023 11:25 am

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