Rental Basics in 11412>Question Details

Latoya Chapm…, Home Buyer in New York, NY

The house we live in is going through a short sale process. We live in the basement of the house, which is

Asked by Latoya Chapman, New York, NY Mon Aug 10, 2009

illegal. We never signed a lease contract so do we still have to pay rent?

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Ralph I dont think your familiar with NYC real estate but just so you know some neighborhoods 3/4s of the homes have illegal basment apartments. The real estate is so expensive some landlords take the chance. Im not in law enforcement so I wouldnt advocate reporting anyone.Whats the point of reporting this landlord anyway the bank wont approve a shortsale with the tenant in the basment anyway. the poor guy is loseing a ton of cash because he is short sailing in good conscence I dont think I cant advocate driving the poor guy to suicide.besides it may be me doing the short sale for him.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011
Find another apartment. I would report the landlord!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011
Very dangerous renting a basment apartment,Basment apartments are illegal unless more thnan half is above ground. Ib the event of a fire have you thought about how you and your family can escape? Do you have to pay rent? No the apartment is illegal a judge will not force a tenent of a illegal apartment to pay rent but will order you to vacate. You never had to pay rent and also the other tenants in the building would be under the same staus because a illegal apartment excists in the building.Basically how could you be required to pay for something that is not legal? But you will need to find a new place to live.There are indtances of legal basement apartments but they are rare as they must comply with the rules in the reference link below. Ive only seen it in large apartment buildings and once in a home where the basment was partially above ground. As far as your rights you need a housing a attorney if you need one I will refer you to a very good one. always sek the advice of an attorney as this is not what I am. My knowledge is vague at best.I have sat in landlord tenant court with a landlord client with a similar situation. The fact that it is a short sale is not the factor that releases you from any obligations though. The landlord would still be the legal owner of the property and may be need that rent to save his house if he can not sell it as a shortsale.he always has the option of paying it off. morally you have an obligation but at the same time he never should have rented you an illegal apartment.he can actually get a fine in the thousands of dollars if caught by the DOB. By the way if you came to me to rent an apartment ,I would find your landlord and ask him if you payed your rent or ask you to produce cancelled rent checks. you would not get an apartment through me if youleft you landlord in a lurch.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 22, 2011
Your best option is to find another apartment. Basement apartments are usually illegal (I have never seen a legal basement apartment) and can be dangerous if there's a fire or any other problem. With respect to paying the rent, the owner is still the owner of the property and if you have a legal obligation to pay rent, the owner can still begin eviction proceedings against you for unpaid rent. A short sale process is merely a sale where the owner owes more on the property than he/she can sell it for. Good luck. If you want further information, you should speak to an attorney.

Ralph Windschuh
Century 21 Princeton Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 11, 2009
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