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Responding to a Notice to Cure

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby RentItNYC » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:15 pm

Hello, I have two concerns I hope someone can help me with.

#1 I received a notice to cure from my landlord. The situation was regarding a roommate who wouldn't leave, so I chose to serve him. The notice was posted on the outside of my door. I did not notify the building of my roommate and they served me with a notice to cure.
The situation was cured on July 1st and my notice to cure expires on July 31st. I spoke with the rep for my mgmt company and he know it is cured and told me to respond to the letter letting them know it was cured.
I don't want to leave my self vulnerable to them moving forward, what exactly do I need to include in the letter saying the situation has been cured? I will send it certified mail, but other than just writing he has moved out and I am the only person living in my apartment, I don't know how to prove the situation is cured.

#2 I have been traveling extensively the last 3 months, and have only been home for a few days at a time in between traveling. If my landlord wants to continue to pursue removing me from my rent stabilized apartment on the premise that it is no longer my primary residence, what proof would they have to provide? Is this a commonly successful route for landlord to take to evict a rent stabilized tenant? Are there any steps I can begin taking to make this difficult for them short of cancelling my travel plans?

Thank you
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:48 pm

First, you are allowed by law to have a roommate (not to be confused with a sublet).

I would send a certified letter to the LL immediately and tell them of your right to have a roommate. See http://www.tenant.net/alerts/articles/roommates.html. The LL does not have right to approve or disprove of the roommate, although you would need to tell the LL of the roommate's presence (and name) if the LL asks you. You do not need to give the LL any information other than the person's name.

In the letter tell the LL that the person has left as of July 1. You can tell the LL you deny there was any breach of the lease, but if there was one, it is now cured.

If the LL chooses to ignore this, then they could serve you with a termination notice after the period in which to cure has ended, followed by a court petition. If that happens, send the letter by certified mail RRR again.

Again, if the person was just a roommate, you have the right to have the person there. This would be harassment by the LL.

Primary residence is a different issue. You have to be in the unit at least 183 days/year. Keep all documentation of your travels, all hotel receipts, all travel receipts, get a letter from your employer if the travel is for work. If it's a vacation, then also keep all documentation. When yo are here, keep all documentation that might prove you're here such as local vendor receipts, bills showing utility usage and so forth.

Have someone check your door and mail frequently and have them alert you if anything happens.
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:02 pm

One other thing. LLs often play games with tenants regarding roommates, sublets and primary residency. They are different things entirely, but LLs will accuse you of one thing, then later accuse you of the other thing. For example, your roommate, well if you are away, the LL could call that a sublet.

That's why you have top have your facts strait, and do not give the LL any other facts if not necessary. If all the LL has accused you of now is the roommate, then don't tell them about your being away. Save that for later.
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby RentItNYC » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:07 pm

How would a landlord prove you are or aren't in the apartment 183 days a year? Is this accusation something you've seen an eviction completed upon?

I drafted a letter stating I deny the violation, but if there is one, it is now cured. That my roommate moved out in entirety on July 1st. Is there anything else to include?

Should I mail three certified letters? To the management company, the attorneys listed on the notice to cure, and the "registered managing agent" named in the letter? I am unsure who to mail this letter to.

Thank you again for the help.
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:43 pm

This is quite common.

Yes, say that it is your right to have a roommate and cite the law. So therefore even though the person is no longer there, it was not a breach of the lease to begin with, Say nothing about your being away for work or vacation (except if the notice said something about your being away, then that's a different matter ... did it?)

One cert letter RRR is sufficient to the LL or management co. But to cover your ass, send 3.

Is the registered managing agent part of the management co.? Call them and find out. Don't over do it, one per office should be OK.

Who are the LL lawyers? Is the NTC on the LL letterhead or the attorney letterhead?
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby RentItNYC » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:45 pm

The notice did not reference my being away. The NTC is on attorney letterhead.

I called my mgmt company to see where to send the letter, and what the letter should state. They gave me the mgmt address to mail it to, as well as instructed me to include the date the person moved out and also to request that someone from the mgmt company should come into the apartment to see that the person moved out. They said the only way to cure was for someone from the mgmt office to come into the apartment before the notice to cure expired on the 31st.

Is that common practice? I feel hesitant to 'invite them to come into my apartment'. Your comment about LL's playing games and baiting/switching tenants makes me fearful they will use the invitation into my apartment to try and find other avenues to evict me. Even thought I don't believe I am violating anything. Are they allowed to open drawer and closets and cabinets? I really am worried they will try and prove it's not a primary residence, and would like more information on how they would be able to do so. Please provide me with any advice or further research I could do regarding this avenue.
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:38 pm

Good Grief!!!! You don't ask the LL what to put in a letter to them. You tell them the situation. You can tell them that their NTC was harassment in a very nice way. You don't have to be nasty if that's your concern. But you do really need to tell them you know your rights. Remember, it does not matter when the person moved out as you had - and still have - the right to have a roommate.

As for them inspecting, do not do that. Just don't. Please, don't be a victim.

The only way to cure? There is nothing to cure as I explained above. They're feeding you bullshit and I hope you're not buying into it.

As for LL inspections in general, see the thread in the Reference Area of the Forum. They have a right to inspect, but you can force them to follow certain protocols. And no inspection can they go through closets and drawers, or take photos.

Primary residence has been discussed at length in this forum, and also there are documents on the website. Use the search tool.

Whatever you do, I understand the desire to be cautious, but please do not let them walk all over you.
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Re: Responding to a Notice to Cure

Postby Sky » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:43 pm

Something doesn't quite make sense here.
You're omitting whatever specific allegation the LL has made which has you worried.
As TenantNet stated the law permits you to have a roommate ... a law was drafted specifically to define and protect this tenant right.

So why would the LL demand that you kick out your roommate ... and make it formal by sending you a Notice to Cure? A roommate who contracted with you typically wouldn't be of concern to a LL unless as TenantNet suggests, as a form of harassment. One possibility is a roommate's behavior that's a nuisance to other tenants in the building or in some manner a lease violation, but you've not suggested this.

In order to better understand your rights so you can proceed in the best way to rectify the situation, you'll need to provide more info. You may be fine, or you may have violated a law or lease provision, or have been suspected of doing so.

“Even thought I don't believe I am violating anything. Are they allowed to open drawer and closets and cabinets? I really am worried they will try and prove it's not a primary residence, and would like more information on how they would be able to do so.”
"How would a landlord prove you are or aren't in the apartment 183 days a year? Is this accusation something you've seen an eviction completed upon?"

As TenantNet suggested do a search. A non-primary residence situation is non-curable breech (however AFAIK an illegal sublet is curable). Non primary residence cases are one of the most common methods of evicting regulated tenants and often involve private detectives, informants (super, other tenants, etc.), and also discovery in court to obtain records (utility, banking, spending, taxes, registrations, travel, etc.) to ascertain who was where, and when. That's how they prove the case. There are exceptions to the 183 days rule for ex. medical issues, sick relative, maybe work related travel, maybe training/study, etc. and a judge would rule on a case by case basis.

Was there any allegation by the LL that this was an illegal sublet (thus hinting at an illusory tenant situation)?
If it's a situation like a AirBnB or hotel then it's not permitted (for ex. someone contracting to live in your apt. for less than 30 days when you are not in residence). There’s been new forms of enforcement in this area and both regulated and non-regulated tenants have lost their apartments.

You are permitted to have a roommate and you are permitted to travel. You can have a roommate and also be gone for several months, that's not a problem since you'd satisfy the occupancy requirements (183 days) for a primary residence. Where there may be a gray area is if you leave for many months but only have a roommate while you are away ... it might be possible such a situation could be interpreted to be an illegal sublet(?) so the contract would be important to clarify the relationship (Sublet = prime tenant typically surrenders right to use/occupy apt.; Roommate = prime tenant shares apt. & retains full rights to use/occupy).

I agree with TenantNet, you shouldn't permit them to inspect your apartment. That's crazy ... like you issuing them a search warrant.

As I mentioned above a non primary residence violation is non-curable so you need to keep that in mind. If a LL can prove it the tenant gets evicted (even if the tenant has evicted the subtenant and has remedied the situation). If you have reason to believe that you may be vulnerable and that you're suspected of an illegal sublet be extremely careful with any fishing expedition used to voluntarily get you to respond and disclose information. A notice to cure in such a scenario could conceivably just be used as a subterfuge to get you to voluntarily disclose more information to help them build their case.
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