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3 day notice

NYC Housing Court Practice/Procedures

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3 day notice

Postby otouch » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:45 am

I am living in a rent regulated apartment building in Brooklyn.
After hurricane Sandy I have been about a month behind in my rental payments because the building did not have heat and I did not know if it will be liveable for the winter.
Eventually management published a letter on the walls in the hallways saying that everyone should still pay as they are not responsible for the heating boiler being damaged after the hurricane but are working on fixing it.
I said OK and resumed rental payments.

On January 11, 2013 I sent in my latest payment by check that covered all that I owed in arrears.

However, on January 15th a 3 day notice was put under my door dated as of Saturday, January 12 saying that I still owe rent and if I don't pay within 3 days an eviction process will be started in court.

Now I am seeing that management has still not cleared my checks and now worried that they simply want to reject my payments and use this situation as an excuse to get me out of the building (perhaps to raise rent to next tenant).


1) In the 3 day notice, the amount owed said for a higher standard rental amount, but I had signed the lease for preferential rent.
2) When the original lease renewal documents were sent to me in September 2012, they were dated 26 days before the expiration of my previous lease with this building, not 60 days as required.


Am I now at serious risk of being evicted?

1) I have proof that landlord is sloppy in following NYC housing regulations
2) I have proof that I sent in all payments they demanded from my bank's bill pay account
3) Is there anything I can tell the landlord's management company now to stop them from going to court?
4) What else can I do to defend myself?
otouch
 
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Postby TenantNet » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:06 am

Putting aside the issue whether or not you should get some sort of abatement for the time in which you did not have heat (I think you are entitled), your question is how to deal with the LL's actions.

First, understand that a 3-day notice is only a prelude to a court proceeding. The matter is not in court yet. Second, putting the notice under your door is not proper service (it needs to be personal service, substitute service or "nail & mail." Research service on the site.

Third, understand that a LL that is intent on taking you to court will do so whether or not there are legitimate grounds.

What to do. Watch for your checks being cleared like a hawk. You can do that online with most banks. Then send a certified letter to the LL return receipt requested, responding to the notice and telling them that full payment has been made. Do you make copies of your checks or money orders? Start doing so.

If you get a Petition from the court, you will have to go to court even if the LL tells you it was all a mistake and he's dropping the case. Many former tenants bought that lie. You will need a stip or discontinuance from the court.

See if this is happening to any other tenants in the building ... to see if he's really trying to clear tenants out.

Make a paper trail for any complaints you've made. LL's do retaliate.

Pay the legal rent with the preferential deduction. To change that, they have to wait until the current lease expires, and even then they might not be able to do that. Look at the DHCR Fact Sheet on preferential rents.

On the renewal, you need to look at the back side of the RTP-8 form to see how what happened fits with DHCR requirements. Usually it's the tenants choice to put off the effective date of the renewal, but did you make that decision, or just go along with the original date?

If they do take you to court, then complain about bad conditions to 311 and ask for an inspection. Read the court information on this site. Get familiar with things.

Yes, get proof from your bank that checks were sent, or start sending checks by certified mail.

When things settle down look into if there's cause for an abatement for no heat.

Court can be unsettling, but if you're on top of things, chances are you will not be evicted.
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Postby otouch » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:13 am

Thank you very much for detailed reply.

One more nuance I have is that I am curently out of the country for several months. Can my wife go to court instead of me, even though the lease is only on my name?
otouch
 
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Postby TenantNet » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:27 am

When LLs take tenants to court, they are supposed to include spouses and others who live in the unit as "John/Jane Doe." If not included, that might be a reason to have the case dismissed at the beginning.

But concentrate on staving off court to begin with.

In the future you can have your wife added to the lease. That's a right you have.
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Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
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