TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Door lock on room in private house

Moderator: TenantNet

Door lock on room in private house

Postby ogmiz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:14 pm

I rent a room in a private house in Middletown, NY. the the landlord seems to think the building inspector will not allow a locked door, athough the landlord will if provided with a key. thinks it is a violation of Middletown, NY housing code. I lived in private houses, including my parents where my lawyer said "and put a lock on your door, you have the right to be secure and ll must provide you are reasonably secure".
Does anyone know if Middletown, NY building/housing code for renting a private room disallows a key lock door?
According to a call to the New York State and Orange County NY building inspectors regarding an apartment I had about 10 years ago, the Middletown, NY building inspector supposedly is not answerable to the state or county, an independent, as are some a couple of other "exceptions" in New York State, or so was noted at the time.
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm

Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:13 pm

Does Middletown, NY even have its own Housing Code? Chances are that it doesn't. The country might have something. And if not, then the Multiple Dwelling Law would control.

And remember that a Housing Code is not the same thing as a Building Code or Fire Code.

In this instance the issue has to do with egress. Look at your local Fire Code. Of course you may have a lock on your room. I would even say a lock on your room is required.

What the LL might be thinking of is a dual-cylinder lock, where one can remove the key on the inside. That is illegal as one would then not be able to open the door and leave from the inside without a key. The keyhole is permitted only on the outside. On the inside there must be a doorknob and perhaps a latch or locking mechanism that one can open at all times from the inside.

But LLs do have a right to a copy of the key, but some never ask for it. Be careful if he has one as some LLs have sticky fingers. I'd get a Nanny Cam.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 10326
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

A big thank you!

Postby ogmiz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:49 pm

I can't begin to tell you how relieved to know that somebody cares to take the time, and have patience, and apparently dedication to help others. I can't really explain details for fear of breaking anonymity. But this situation is fraught with anxiety and I am in poor health. I am sure the landlord is fearful of losing his investment for reasons best unexplained here. LL has been very patient and helpful to those in "bad situations". LL appears to want to "play by the book" and assumes some things are "against code". I have been racing against time trying to search http://www.ecode360.com/ecode3-back/get ... 3&all=true "City of Middletown Housing" for facts. But you know how people get when they feel rushed and under pressure.
The lock LL is fine with is an outside keylock, turn to lock inside. I will look into the type you described if that is not this one.
Thank you again for your time and patience!
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm

Re: A big thank you!

Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:10 pm

ogmiz wrote:The lock LL is fine with is an outside keylock, turn to lock inside.


That sounds fine and legal. What type of lock were you wanting that he wasn't OK with?

See Deadbolt at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadbolt
The top one in the photo is the key on the outside with a latch or knob on the inside.

So what's the problem?
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 10326
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

The door knob in question

Postby ogmiz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:21 pm

The landlord is perfectly fine with my having this lock on the door but said it must be removed because it is a single family private house, not a "multiple dwelling". LL apparently thinks building inspector will not approve.

I've never heard of this, but quite the opposite, that a prudent and reasonable person would provide for security. Even when I was young my lawyer, and parents were fine were with this type of lock, as long as they had a key.

This is not an endorsement of any particular brand, just the cheapest available to me, since landlord was not paying for it but paid only for a standard non-lock door knob. Key lock on outside, "thumb" turn inside (to lock and unlock from inside).

This is the exact brand and knob I put on the door.
http://www.directdoorknobs.com/store/p/ ... -Knob.html

It was purchased at a local discount store, but I found the picture through a search engine.

I am not sure what this knob is called and couldn't find an exact match on wikipedia. I understand if this reply is unacceptable because of the link.

This is the type of knob standard on all apartments I've had.

I put the non-lock standard door knob back on and have the lock knob in a drawer. Landlord says I can replace the lock knob after the inspection. LL appears to think the building inspector will not approve a lock knob in a private house for a renter!

I can't say why I don't feel safe due to the details but I must go to doctors and can't always be here.
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm

Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:37 pm

Ask the LL if other than his paranoia, what makes him think the lock you bought is unacceptable? As him to point specifically to whatever section of the code makes it illegal? I'm sure he won't know ... he doesn't know.

Or you could take your lock to an inspector of whoever is in charge of Middletown and ask them. Your local Fire Dept. will likely be able to give you an answer.

I think that [your] lock is insufficient and that a deadbolt is needed for security.

Some people use a deadbolt as in
http://www.locksinthecity.com/Jimmy-Proof-Deadbolt.html

which provides much more security, locks on the outside and has a turn-latch on the inside.

If you look here

you see images of double cylinder locks, which are illegal for having the keylock on both sides. In the middle of a fire, one will likely not be able to find a key to get out.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 10326
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Postby Emeraldstar » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:18 am

Hi All
Building inspector for a private house? I don't get it?
Emeraldstar
 
Posts: 967
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:01 am

A short follow up...

Postby ogmiz » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:59 pm

Regarding "building inspector for private house". Apparently, where code violations (electrical for example) have been made known, specifically because rooms were rented and the type of dwelling (multiple or private?) was in question, the building inspector was made aware of "situations", and apparently "patient" for as long as possible. Then came the point where he had to make a legal determination as to the type of dwelling (listed only as private but known to rent as multiple is a violation) and inspect for safety etc.

In terms of the key lock, well, I noticed a key lock of the type I mention is on the bathroom door. Maybe the building inspector didn't notice that one. But, a local non-legal representative of a human resource agency says such is also the case in another nearby small city: no key locks on rented rooms in private houses. Apparently, unlike cities like Albany, NY, Rochester etc, the "wilds" of upstate New York never had cases of "prudent, reasonable" protection of privacy and property. The rep said they thought this was wrong too, but the conflict of housing, fire and other codes is just, well, confusing and bewildering.

Without giving away too many identifying details, the building inspector must return to determine if certain violations have been corrected, in very short order. If the house is not condemned, I'll follow up, otherwise we will have a short time to vacate and I"ll not be able to keep you informed of developments.

So, in short, the standard knob will stay at least for now, and anything else that might bring suspicion will be removed so I/we will have some sort of lodging for now.

Thanks to all for your help. Apologies for typos if any and syntax.
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm

Postby Emeraldstar » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:36 pm

Hi All
Thanks for the clarity. That said, I don't know if this will help but I thought it was interesting. A friend has a safe installed in a walkin closet. It's bolted to the floor. Not a tiny one. About the size of 3 microwaves stacked on top of each other. It took three guys & a hand truck to get it in. Search on line for types/costs. I know it's a stretch from a lock but it's an option. Then you could feel secure with docs/valuables. I can't imagine an inspector telling anyone what to keep in a closet. Good luck :wink:
Emeraldstar
 
Posts: 967
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:01 am

Update

Postby ogmiz » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:24 pm

It appears, from what the code inspector said, that as a private dwelling only a blood relative and a blood relative (such as a brother, in particular) or a single person or two persons "living together" in, shall we say, a "common-law civil union" (but not splitting rent, appears to refer to the "living together" couple) maybe inhabit this particular private dwelling.

The whole house needs to be brought up to code. Inspector may enter at any time to make sure no "bait and switch" (my term) is being employed as subterfuge to undermine the "multiple dwelling" law. Seems to be playing "hardball" with this house. He said he could shut the whole house down despite the efforts now underway to bring up to code due to "priors".

And the key lock knob garnered attention, is all I can say along with the vagueness above. The guy is actually doing me a favor because, honestly, it would be a hard and long legal battle under conditions spelled out in my posts above. And I really have neither the health nor resources to do so.

Thank you all again for your help! I really feel I owe you all this update, and maybe it would help others in a similar situation.

So, it would seem that certain sites , or their members more precisely, that help private owners find people to rent unused rooms to in Middletown, NY are all breaking the law!
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm

Postby TenantNet » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:41 pm

It sounds like this inspector is typical of upstate bureaucrats that make up their own rules as they go along. First, inspectors would not have jurisdiction over the roommate issue.

Take a look at http://tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=4913 which is the Roommate Law that covers the entire state. I don't recall if it's just for multiple dwellings or if your situation would be considered a boarding house, but look at the language carefully. There might be separate zoning provisions restricting that house and others nearby to single occupancy, but that's different. If the owner of the house can legally rent, then it's either a multiple dwelling or rooming house.

That is simply the right to have a roommate and says nothing about locks. Even the multiple Dwelling Law (also statewide) would not restrict locks in such a manner.

It sounds to me like you're dealing with a fiefdom who has you all confused and fluttered. Have the inspector quote the exact provision he thinks is in violation.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 10326
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

The controversy has been brewing for some time!

Postby ogmiz » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:28 am

Thank you again for your keen insight and interest!!!

Something nagged at me, and after falling into a exhausted sleep, awoke remembering a glimpse of local newspaper article. This is not the one, but one of several. It's difficult to maneuver THR online's search and archive system and registered users are limited to 10 free articles a month, but this one is typical of the attempt to prevent illegal multiple, and "unsafe" conditions after a devastating multiple dwelling fire:

"Rental Law Forces Family Out, Middletown Says Home Too Tiny For Seven People"

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.d ... MM/6160329

"Middletown passed a law last year requiring permits and inspections for all rental houses. Jacob Tawil, Middletown's public works director, said code enforcers started inspecting the single-family-home rentals two months ago, doing about 50 inspections each month. At LaVerdure's home, the bedrooms measured 80, 120 and 129 square feet — below state requirements of 70 square feet for one person, 100 for two and 150 for three.

...State code also requires a living room, dining room and kitchen in any home where three or more people live; those rooms can't be used for sleeping.

"Our biggest problem (with housing) is overcrowding," Tawil said. "It puts the lives of these people in danger."

LaVerdure is frustrated. The state inspects her house, including the bedrooms, each year because she's a foster parent, and there's never been a problem.

If this is what the city's going to do, she said, "half of Middletown's going to have to move out." "

And there is the problem of Supportive Housing that had one large house, a large living room, dining room, kitchen, "common room" (upstairs and down) and 2 people in each of 4 bedrooms (and two baths). That was 15 years ago. I wonder if it is still in operation.

This is much larger in scope than what I was aware of, and seems to be out of the hands of most private homeowners who rent to families, unless they all want to band to together in a class action lawsuit that will most likely take years, be costly and frustrating. We are, as you so rightly say, speaking of a feifdom, where a local municipality has the right to pass laws protecting itself (some say the right not to get sued for negligence) and the citizens versus the right of homeowners.

But whither Middletown when a key local politician was quoted as saying that a municpality has the right to get references for persons wanting to work and live here? And that is just my editorial and not to be taken as fact.

Thank you all again! If we can stay here or not, may have to move on a moment's notice, I can't say. So I thank you again ahead of time in case I can't get back in contact for awhile!
ogmiz
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:27 pm


Return to NYS General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests