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NYC condo tenant laws/rights

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NYC condo tenant laws/rights

Postby eduha » Sat May 16, 2020 12:07 pm

NYC unregulated apartment in a "luxury" condo building (more than 20 units but less than 50 to be vague) built after 2000 (vague). The owner of our unit owns at least 2-4 other units under an LLC (or various), I believe they also built the building and own land from my internet sleuthing, other units in the building are owned independently by individual families, some are rented out but these individuals using a different broker/management company.

My issue is that I signed a lease, gave 1st month + security, and was promised the apartment would be ready by lease start. On the day of lease commencement their broker gave me the keys but the apartment was 100% not ready: furniture the apartment was shown with was still there, nothing had been done (painting, cleaning - urine on bathroom tile/floor!, fixing of appliances, no smoke detectors, etc). I am 2 weeks in and it is still not ready, though they may have shifted the furniture to another unit because of our nagging. *edit* The says I receive the place "as is", but some of these things I believe breech the the warrant of habitability like no smoke alarms.

I have only had contact with their broker (who is not owner/management), they said I'd be refunded for each day it is not ready. Said broker is from a legitimate real estate company/brokerage and has been trying to remedy this situation with regular updates. The broker was also unsure of who the management is/will be for me, and only has email info for the owner (who may also be management).

Are condo tenant rights different from apartment tenant rights? All my research has only yielded co-op info and RS/RC info for NYC and not condo.

What are the requirements for a condo to be considered "ready"?

If the independent condo owner rents to me do general landlord-tenant laws apply? Like re-painting requirement every 3 years?

What are our options?

If there is anything here that should be removed please let me know and I will edit.

*edit - if this is in the wrong forum please let me know to delete/move it*

Thank you.
eduha
 
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Re: NYC condo tenant laws/rights

Postby TenantNet » Mon May 18, 2020 8:01 pm

With coops and condos, tenants are not rent stab unless they were in occupancy when the conversion took place. If they moved in later, then they are unregulated.

However there might be some protections is the building enjoys 421(a) benefits, and perhaps benefits from a few other programs.

Your issue boils down to the unit not being ready. Usually that is covered by lease provisions. Some LLs insert clause to the effect they are not responsible or liable for anything that might cause the unit to not be ready. Acts of God are on thing, but from what you describe, they are just lazy.

You're correct, an "as is" clause is often not enforceable, especially on items like smoke detectors, which are required by law. If the LL won't deal with it, you can complain to 311, or even file an HP Action in Housing Court ... you might even get the court to buy that the lack of smoke/CO detectors is an emergency - being that the courts are closed mostly.

Brokers know nothing and can't force the LL to do anything. I would contact the LL directly. Did the broker's promise about refunds get put in writing? Of course the LL will say any broker promises are not binding on him.

You could threaten the LL with withholding your rent come July, but being unregulated, your protections are minimal. The Warranty of Habitability (see the Housing Maintenance Code) applies to all tenants, not just RS or coop. Make sure you have many photos of the bad conditions as well as copies of letters and emails sent to the owner, and at least one that was send by certified mail.
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Re: NYC condo tenant laws/rights

Postby eduha » Tue May 19, 2020 10:11 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Your issue boils down to the unit not being ready. Usually that is covered by lease provisions. Some LLs insert clause to the effect they are not responsible or liable for anything that might cause the unit to not be ready. Acts of God are on thing, but from what you describe, they are just lazy.

You're correct, an "as is" clause is often not enforceable, especially on items like smoke detectors, which are required by law.


You are right about this, turns out it's laziness coupled with covid keeping the owner's management team out of office and separated from one another. I went prepared with some of the things that you mentioned, including citations from the NY Housing Tenant Right's pdf about the warrant of habitability. I'm happy to say that they are working on preparing the apartment as of today.

Brokers know nothing and can't force the LL to do anything. I would contact the LL directly. Did the broker's promise about refunds get put in writing? Of course the LL will say any broker promises are not binding on him.


The broker wrote about reimbursement via text message and email, she also repeated it in person when I saw her recently. After reviewing my copy of the lease I found that there was a page in it about refunds for the property not being prepared for move-in and being reimbursed. I cited it in my conversation by phone and in a follow-up email with the LL's management company, it was acknowledged by them both times. Should I still follow-up via certified mail?

You could threaten the LL with withholding your rent come July, but being unregulated, your protections are minimal.


I don't think that this will become necessary as things seem to be moving forward at this point in time, but we'll see. In the end like most situations here in NYC we need a place to live, and the convenience of location (and price) may not be worth the risk of fighting.

The Warranty of Habitability (see the Housing Maintenance Code) applies to all tenants, not just RS or coop.


I wasn't sure of this initially as it is an apartment in an independently owned condo in a condo building. The NY Tenant's Rights pdf that I found did not explicitly discuss condos but your clarification helped and allowed me to better present my case with strong information. I now know that I am considered a tenant in this LL property even if it is a condo.

Make sure you have many photos of the bad conditions as well as copies of letters and emails sent to the owner, and at least one that was send by certified mail.


I have and will continue to document with photos, videos, and email, even after all preparations are made. And upon receiving the apartment for move-in I will submit a letter via certified mail with the condition it is given to me to cover myself too.

One last question. Does the "painting every 3 years" also apply to non-RS unregulated market rate condos too? They are painting the place now, it has not been painted since being purchased (so between 3-8 years). I believe they won't try to charge me a maintenance fee for painting but I want to make sure that I'm will be fine because of the "every 3 years" rule.

Thank you for your help. Most info I found when searching for condo tenant rights barely mention anything for tenants and primarily focused on landlords and having tenants in a condo. I hope this post will also help others in the future. Thank you again.
eduha
 
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Re: NYC condo tenant laws/rights

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 20, 2020 2:54 am

Glad to see things are moving forward. You always need a good assessment of your rights, but also good judgment of the opposition (yes, the LL is always the opposition). There are times to go to war, and there are times to sit at the table. Seems like they are willing to work with you. As to certified, we always say to do that, but there are instances where a Certificate of Mailing ($1.50) can do the job, especially, as here, when they have acknowledged your message.

For coops or condos, you would be the tenant of the condo owner, or technically the subtenant of the coop shareholder. You live there, so the Warranty of Habitability - and other laws - would apply to you. You are generally not covered by rent stab though.

Yes, painting every three years applies to non-RS tenants. They can't charge you for painting as far as I know (you pay rent for that). Painting also applies to walls/surfaces that need it, even if it's less than three years.
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