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Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

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Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby spidermonkey » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:29 pm

Hi,

M2M tenant here. I live in a two family building, my apartment is on the ground floor. I've been here M2M for about 7 years, and lately the landlord is talking about increasing the rent by $300. I balked considering that there is a (very friendly, relatively clean) homeless man living right outside my roommates' bedroom windows, which has caused multiple problems in the past. I think there is an implicit agreement between him and the landlord; the landlord has him make "repairs" or do yard work in the yard that is now full of his worldly possessions - lots of debris, lumber, seriously, all kinds of stuff and as many belongings as a small apartment can hold; he's been there now for almost a year and has constructed a kind of dwelling in the yard and side alley which is our fire escape exit. I'm pretty sure this constitutes a violation and I could call the cops if I wanted - but I don't want to do that to the homeless fellow, and instead I've been arguing with the landlord about it, who I feel is exchanging (illegal) living space in return for handiwork at the expense of us tenants' right to a clean outdoor space and peace and quiet.

I actually didn't mind at first, since this fellow keeps OUT worse trespassers, and he does do maintenance work for the landlord when needed. We've gotten to know him pretty well in the last year. (Ethical aside: we've tried to get him housing until he told us he wasn't actually interested in a place to live/ rent to pay. He likes living out there rent free.) But lately there's been some serious nuisance involved with noise. He likes to play his radio/ hammer on furniture at all hours of the night, and since I'm trying to find a new roommate for one of those rooms which he camps outside of, I foresee a problem. We are all females living in this apartment to boot, which, I hope is obvious, can make it quite awkward having a man living right outside our bedroom windows. I've pressured the landlord several times, he kind of half-heartedly addresses it with the guy, then relapses again. In the past a roommate just simply stopped paying rent because it was so bad, which forced him to get things cleaned up - again, only temporarily.

I would pay the rent increase if we didn't have this issue; I wouldn't complain about this issue if he wasn't increasing the rent. Of course, the landlord doesn't see it this way, lol.

Crazily enough (because I guess in NYC my rent can be considered "cheap") I'm interested in signing a lease, which I know involves negotiating a rent increase. Should I leave taking action to correct the yard situation (like writing official letters; bringing up escrow; etc) until AFTER I am on a lease ? I don't want to risk getting kicked out if I start putting real pressure on him, which as I'm a M2M tenant I believe he could easily do?
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Re: Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby TenantNet » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:37 pm

What do you want to do - fight the rent increase, or get rid of the homeless guy?
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Re: Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby spidermonkey » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:11 pm

I would be happy with either one but, ultimately, I want a stable situation where I know I have a place to live with x amount of rent for a set period of time, which means a lease. I was under the impression that this necessitates agreeing to a rent increase ie, a M2M tenant doesn't have many options to fight one?

Short answer: Getting rid of the homeless guy seems like the logical path
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Re: Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby TenantNet » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:06 pm

The LL can offer a lease if both parties agree on the terms. It could have the same rent, a reduction or an increase, but more likely an increase. In you're case it would be unregulated, so the LL can demand what he wants.

Sure you can make a huge stink about the homeless guy, have the city come in or whatever. But understand the LL may not like what you're doing. It could be trouble for the LL as well. But if the person is really intruding on your privacy, then it's worth doing something about.
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Re: Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby spidermonkey » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:35 pm

I am expecting that the landlord might not like it if I raise a huge stink with the city, but I will try to get things straightened out with him first before taking it to that level.

What I want to do regarding the situation with the homeless man is send the LL letters notifying him of the situation that we want corrected, and then eventually if we have to, withhold rent - putting it in escrow - etc. Basically, as a M2M tenant, we would be risking a lot doing this, right? That is why I'm thinking we must be on a lease before trying this route.

PS - it's not just an invasion of privacy, really... it encompasses a lot of things, But when you have to constantly see/hear someone using the bathroom right outside your window, it can be pretty stressful. Not to mention all the stuff stockpiled in the alley and in the front yard - its basically a catch-all for whatever anyone on the block throws away and he wants to salvage and store there. That can't be ok, right?
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Re: Sharing my front yard with a homeless gent

Postby TenantNet » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:58 pm

Even with a lease, your protections last only as long as the lease.

There are other less confrontational strategies than forcing a court case. Try going to your elected officials or community board. The LL might still get pissed, but it's not the same as court.

Do other tenants in the building also object? Put pressure on the LL that way.
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