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spouse sudden death

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spouse sudden death

Postby lyndalware » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:09 pm


I have a friend whose spouse died suddenly 3 weeks ago. They were married for 3 years and the spouse had lived in the apartment for just shy of 20 years without a lease. The apt is not rent-regulated and they lived there on a month-to-month basis. The landlord is now starting the process for a holdover case is the survivor-spouse does not vacate w/in 30 days.

Just as extra information - the apartment (& whole building in fact) is in disrepair - plumbing in bathroom doesn't work, kitchen plumbing leaks, kitchen cabinets broken. They were in the process of fixing these things themselves at their own expense. They have no history of non-payment or of complaints or problems with the landlord.

The surviving spouse would really like to stay in the apartment. So before going to a lawyer, I suggested that my friend contact the landlord and see if something can be worked out.

Does anyone have any advice on how to approach the landlord or what could be done if housing court is the only recourse?

Thank you.
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Re: spouse sudden death

Postby TenantNet » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:37 pm

Are you absolutely sure the apt in not RS? The only real reason the LL might want you out is if it's regulated (and can be deregulated). Otherwise there is no motivation to force you out.

Even if you think it's not RS, it's worth getting a rent history from DHCR going back to 1984 and seeing if there might be a chance.

If the unit is M2M and the surviving spouse is willing to pay the rent, there's no motivation to kicking you out.

Without a lease or succession rights (from RC/RS status), it's simply a matter of the LL bringing a holdover. But ... perhaps the LL might think there's something to protect to get you out ASAP. Are there other units in the building that ARE RS? That would be a clue.

Bad conditions aren't really an issue here ... but if you can establish a RS status, then of course conditions can be an issue.

Without a clam of RS, Housing Court might buy you some time, but not much else.
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Re: spouse sudden death

Postby lyndalware » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:26 am

Thanks very much. My friend called DHCR to get the rental history but was told there is no record of the building at DHCR & so no rental histories. There are only 3 apartments so I guess the building isn't subject to RR.

The two other tenants have been there for many, many years, as was the deceased. One of them has been there coming up on 40 years. Seems like there may be a good chance that he would be willing to come to an agreement. Any thoughts on how to approach the landlord, considering, as you said, he has no apparent pressing reason to push the issue? For instance, In your opinion, do you think my friend should approach the landlord on their own or with a lawyer?
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