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overnight guests?

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overnight guests?

Postby kas » Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:39 pm

Hello,
I've just been living in my apartment for not even two weeks. This morning, landlord yelled at me because I am apparently breaking my lease by having my boyfriend spend the night (he has about 4 times). I looked to my lease, which states:

"Only a party signing this lease and the spouse or children of that party may use the apartment."

Does this mean that I am never allowed to have overnight guests? Do I have to marry my boyfriend in order for him to legally stay the night? I had no idea this was going to cause such a problem for him; I wasn't trying to hide the boyfriend or sneak around, and in fact had introduced him to the landlord.

He seemed to be mostly concerned with the added utilities of an extra person, but I also stay away some nights, so it seems to me like it would even out. I can't imagine what else, besides noise or a moral issue, could be the problem.

He also said that the real estate broker must have told me about ‘what happened last time,’ which he did not. Could the broker be held accountable for withholding information from a renter?

We've only had one exchange, this morning, he was very upset and yelling, and I'm hoping that we will be able to have a reasonable discussion and work something out, but I just wanted to see what someone else’s opinion is on the matter.

Thanks in advance!
kas
 
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby BronxRenter » Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:56 pm

The way that lease is worded means that you can't have any visitors at all.

Every renter in NYS has the right to a fair lease, and if a lease is found to be "unconcionable" it will not be enforced by the courts. This clause is obviously unconcionable.

As it sounds like you live in a private house, I would advise that you try to work it out with the LL maybe offer a few bucks for utilities, before you pursue your legal options.
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby kas » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:02 am

Thanks so much for your reply.

If that clause is found to be "unconcionable", would the entire lease be unenforcable, or just that particular clause?

Alos, say the LL says I can have visitors in the apt, just not anyone overnight. Is that enforcable/legal?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your help. I'm hoping for a reasonable discussion with the guy to work this out.
kas
 
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Downtown » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:29 am

You didn't post where you live. Is this a legal apt? Many times in private houses LL just builds units but does not get them registered (thus utilities are all the same meter).
I would talk to the broker and ask what LL meant.
Did you read the lease before you signed?
Firmly after you have done research talk to LL. If you are in NYC bouroughs can go to www.nycgov.com and pull up building info.
The easiest solution is probably to work out a utility surcharge and get it in writing...overnight guest(s) are permitted and will pay $$$.
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Anna » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:52 am

You posted in the NYC section: the following assumes that you do at least live somewhere in NY STATE...

20 years ago, NY STATE enacted the Roommate Law, RPL 235-f http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/RPL/rpl07.html. This law gives every residential renter in the entire state in any kind of housing, private (single-family, two-family or multiple dwelling), the absolute right to have at least one roommate and their children live with them (the only exceptions are public housing units). It clearly states that any lease provision that says otherwise is null and void.

If we can all have people live with us as permanent long-term occupants, we can most certainly have shorter term guests!

Learn about your tenant-rights and how to deal with LLs illegal activities: start here: http://tenant.net/nyc.html

and search 'all open forums', above right, for many previous posts on this subject.
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Phil Cohen » Thu Oct 07, 2004 10:40 am

I agree with Anna and Phil II. Unfortunately, the OP is in a bad situation, because she risks losing the apartment if she enforces her rights on this stayover business (or anything else).

However, if the landlord is going to be such a jerk, it may not be a bad idea to take a stand, and to get ready to move to a more sane environment at the end of the lease.
Keep in mind that I am a tenant. Not a lawyer!!!!!
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby kas » Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:41 am

Thanks again for the great responses.

I'm pretty sure it's a legal apartment in NYC, I pay the gas, but the LL pays electric. I did read the lease, but assumed that that section meant no one else could live there, or have access to the apartment when I'm not there.

This is all very helpful -- thank you!
kas
 
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby HardKnocks » Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:48 pm

Tell your LL you'd prefer to pay your own electric, thank you, if him paying it means he has jurisdiction over your personal life. Not sure where you are, but in NYC, your electric shouldn't be too much. Mine goes from $40-$55 (the higher amt. is in the summer).
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby kas » Fri Oct 08, 2004 10:43 am

Thanks again everyone - here comes round 2:

I spoke with my landlord last night, and he is totally unwilling to negotiate the point of having a boyfriend – or anyone – stay over. I think he has an ethical problem with this, he wants his building to be nice and quiet, and doesn't want his college age daughter to be exposed to such indecent behavior.

When it became clear to me that he was not going to budge, I showed him the NYS RPL 235-f, but he did not believe me that he could not legally put these kinds of restrictions on a tenant – he just keeps saying ‘studio apartment – 1 person.’ (There is a bit of a language/communication problem.) My question now is, could it be possible that studio apartments have different regulations on occupancy than 1-bedrooms, or does he not know what the law is?

The apartment is in Williamsburg, is a 3-story building with what I think are all single person apartments. I looked up the building history on nyc.gov, but am not sure what I am supposed to be looking for. It is listed as a walk-up apartment.

My next step is talking with the broker today – he was clearly supposed to have told me that the LL does not allow overnight guests, but he did not.

Thanks – I can’t believe what I mess I’ve landed in!
kas
 
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Phil Cohen » Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:03 pm

Forget about talking with the broker, because whether she told you about this illegal prohibition or not is beside the point.

One thing you might want to do is to write him a nice letter, pointing out the Roommate law by chapter and verse. That way, if he is nutty enough to try an eviction, his lawyer will read your letter, realize you know your rights, and not file the suit in the first place. Ask him, nicely, to please stop yelling at you because that is harassment and you have a right to have your boyfriend over. Thank him for his cooperation and understanding, etc. etc.

If he has threatened eviction verbally, and there is an attorneys fee clause in your lease, you may want to point out to him (nicely) that if he tries to evict he will lose and pay your attorneys fees.
Keep in mind that I am a tenant. Not a lawyer!!!!!
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Anna » Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:27 pm

The fact that it is called a 'studio' is totally irrelevant to almost any issue because a 'studio' could be anything from a 100 sq ft hotel/SRO/rooming house room to a 2,000 sq ft loft (or even smaller or larger than those!).

BUT, yes, there are minimum room size and maximum occupancy limits on all types of rooms/apts in NYC/NYS. See, e.g., sections 27-2074 thru 27-2080 of the Housing Maintenance Code (see also the NYC Building Code & the state MDL).

Basically, the living area must provide 80 sq ft per adult, excluding baths and kitchens in your calculations...
http://housing***nyc.com/resources/hmc/sub3/art4.html

(copy and paste that into your address bar, delete the ***)

<small>[ October 08, 2004, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: Anna ]</small>
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby BronxRenter » Sat Oct 09, 2004 1:32 am

Originally posted by kas:
Thanks again for the great responses.

I'm pretty sure it's a legal apartment in NYC, I pay the gas, but the LL pays electric. I did read the lease, but assumed that that section meant no one else could live there, or have access to the apartment when I'm not there.

This is all very helpful -- thank you!
If the LL pays electric the apartment is illegal. To be legal it must have it's own meter. There's no way in hell any LL will pay a tenants electric if they are on their own meter.

Send him some letters, everything in writing. Then do what you want. If hestill busts balls get the Dept of Buildings over there and the FDNY to break his balls.
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby Downtown » Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:50 am

Once again, I have learned from Anna. Clearly, LL cannot enforce a prohibition on an overnight guest...for any reason (utilities, morality).
You have a signed lease and as long as you pay rent cannot be evicted. I would say will not be renewed (either).
I would still talk with the broker. Just for background and perhaps have them talk to LL.
Unfortunately, this will be a hostile living situation. By sending a letter with copy of the law (keep copy for yourself) and having broker talk with him...at the very least places him on notice you will not tolerate his behavior.
If this continues and you want out...make sure you get a release in writing from him.
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby HardKnocks » Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:00 pm

I used to share a LEGAL (big building owned by large mgmt. company in Murray Hill) studio with my boyfriend, with BOTH of us on the lease. Occupancy, schmoccupancy. But that's not the issue, Mr. Landlord. She's not SHARING your apt. with her boyfriend... and even if she was, it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!

Does he live right below you, and perhaps hear your "intimate" noises at night? If so, maybe you two could hold off on the fun stuff until the nights you're at his place. I know you shouldn't have to do that, but it might make the situation more bearable until you can get out of there.

You might even be able to get the fee back from the broker for not telling you there were stupid "ground rules" for living there (threaten to report her to the Atty General), and you could leave there without even risking using this nutcase landlord as a reference, since you've been there only a couple of weeks.

(For more crazy landlord tales, go over to the NYS discussion and check out the woman whose landlord is selling the house. Mind-blowing.)
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Re: overnight guests?

Postby kas » Sun Oct 10, 2004 12:17 pm

the only "intimate noises" he's hearing is us walking up the stairs!

the broker is suposedly on the case, he should be explaining to the LL that he can't do anything, though neither of them know anything about what the law is. (the broker kept telling me, 'he's just a guy, he doesn't know the law. he's just a guy!)

i'm hoping i can make the broker realize that he's responsible and have him set me up with a new place, if the living situation continues to be hostile.

thanks again for everyone's help -- this is such a great resource.
kas
 
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