Hey everyone, I am a landlord from New York City and am experiencing a terrible time in a holdover case. The tenant had delayed court 3 times because she claim she was pregnant and had a c-section. She was able to obtain a doctors note and the judge is extremely tenant friendly. The reason why I am experiencing a terrible time is because I know for a fact that she was not pregnant and did not have a child. I have seen her smoking on the balcony lately and asked around the neighborhood. In addition, I learned from another tenant that she went through the trouble of reporting to the dept. of buildings that I have an illegal basement and is calling exterminators for roaches etc. I am terrified of these people and what they can come up with. Apparently she knows people that can help her, such as doctors etc. It's been almost 6 months since she was notified to vacate and hasn't paid a single dime.
Is there anything I can do in this circumstance? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I would hire a private detective to find the proof that she was neither pregnant nor had a C-section and take that to your next court date.
As far as having an illegal basement - do you? And do you have a roach infestation?
Take care of things that can get you in trouble and you won't be in trouble. Stay within the law, make your properties safe and habitable and you will have nothing to be terrified of.
I know this area is tenant friendly so I advise if you don't have a lawyer get one. Also like the private detective idea. If there is an actual doctor who signed the note see what your lawyer says about that, if the doctor attested to incorrect facts then you may be able to report this. It does not solve your problem though.
I would concentrate on getting them out based on the reason you are evicting them. You might hurt her credibility if she lied about having a baby but in the end it doesn't address the main issue of getting them out. What the heck is an illegal basement anyway? And if it is a single unit roaches what does your lease say about pests?
@Steven Sun wow that's rough I would try and have her provided a birth certificate and a social security card for the child as proof. Need to have an experienced tenant/landlord on this case.
As Colleen said you need to get a Lawyer specialized in Landlord law first and foremost. Doing this on your own in a anti-landlord state like New York against a professional tenant is a fools errand. Be prepared to pay the $200-$300 an hour the lawyer is going to charge. Secondly, after talking to the lawyer you need to provide a carrot and a stick to incentivize tenant to move. Cash for keys is a good carrot, legal threats of credit reporting and penalty fees can be a good stick.
@Linda Weygant I think your statements are unfairly flippant. Obviously he described the tenant as deceitful and litigious so it is pretty obvious he doesn't have a "roach infestation". Also its naive to think you are going to provide a home that a professional tenant or lawyer couldn't find in some sort of violation, it is like the cop following you around in your car, they are going to find a myriad of driving infractions, if they look hard enough. In a state with a 5,000 page landlord/tenant regulation codex that isn't a difficult feat. Finally I always find it (SMH) amusing when BP posters talk about "providing a quite, safe, comfortable" or other feel good adjective housing environment. I know of no landlord that doesn't strive for those things, while those factors also being largely out of your control based on external uncontrollable variables.
And this is why, even though I live in Manhattan, I would never own any rental property closer then Pennsylvania. This is all par for the course in NYC.
Is your basement actually illegal? What does your Certificate of Occupancy say? If it really is illegal, and you've been profiting off it, be prepared to be very screwed. The city is very tough on landlords renting rooms (especially basements) without the proper means of egress, ventilation, etc... You potentially owe the tenant triple the amount of all the rent she has ever paid you, plus all of her moving expenses, plus thousands of dollars in fines from the city, plus having to have significant renovation work done and eventually inspected by the city.
As a firefighter, I have little sympathy if that is indeed the case.
Thank you all for the prompt response. I had a lawyer since day one and every time the tenant delays I have to pay the lawyer which is frustrating. He said he couldn't do much because of the supporting document (doctor's note) that her lawyer provided to the judge. In response to some of the questions, I do not have an illegal basement nor any roach infestations. The building was constructed a little over 10 years ago and I had never encounter such claims.
Once again, thanks for all the advice. I will reach out to my lawyer asap. He seems to be very passive. I need to tell him to be more aggressive.
I will follow up and let everyone know what happens on the next court date. 10/15.
Originally posted by @Steve B. :
@Linda Weygant I think your statements are unfairly flippant. Obviously he described the tenant as deceitful and litigious so it is pretty obvious he doesn't have a "roach infestation".
I wasn't intending to be flippant. I was intending to be logical. If the tenant is reporting illegal basements and roaches, then the best way to defend one's self against such reporting is to not have them (to the best of one's ability - roaches are a tough one). The OP said she was reporting that, my advice was a simple if/then statement. If it's something reportable, then get make it so it's no longer reportable. What's flippant about that?
what ended up happening?
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