Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Multiple dwelling in NYC?

If a house has 3 units (but only 2 apartments are rented) an dalocummelioribus10/21/18
Yes it is a multiple dwelling. nycatt10/21/18
It’s by number of units, regardless of occupancy dingbat10/21/18
Ahh ok. Because...I have a roommate (he is NOT on the lease) dalocummelioribus10/22/18
None of that you said makes sense, and very little is correc nycatt10/22/18
What?? Well I called the housing dept and they said my unit dalocummelioribus10/22/18
I’m missing something about the dwelling. But that’s ok. dingbat10/22/18
With respect to the multiple dwelling thing, you said there nycatt10/22/18
Not in NY so I have no idea about this MDL thing, but it's t onehell10/22/18
The MDL thing wasn't even important. Op got hung up on the nycatt10/22/18
Presumably, if OP moves out, obtaining possession of the uni onehell10/23/18
OK guys thanks for all the advice. A couple of things though dalocummelioribus10/22/18
If he is paying you rent, it isn't such a bad problem as far nycatt10/22/18
Yes, definitely. I mean he even texted me today apologizing dalocummelioribus10/23/18
No problem. Settling is always better than litigation (unle nycatt10/23/18
Update -- although I had noticed my roommate drank beers her dalocummelioribus10/28/18
New update: my roommate lashed out at me last night for simp dalocummelioribus10/31/18
What a dirty little tortfeasor. jd4hire10/31/18
Yup, he's really total scum. My other roommate (who isn't ev dalocummelioribus10/31/18
dalocummelioribus (Oct 21, 2018 - 9:42 am)

If a house has 3 units (but only 2 apartments are rented) and the owner lives there (so only 2 families rent), is that still considered a "multiple dwelling"? My understanding of the law says that multiple dwellings are 3 units or more but what if only 2 units are actually rented?

Reply
nycatt (Oct 21, 2018 - 1:50 pm)

Yes it is a multiple dwelling.

Reply
dingbat (Oct 21, 2018 - 3:36 pm)

It’s by number of units, regardless of occupancy

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 22, 2018 - 11:11 am)

Ahh ok. Because...I have a roommate (he is NOT on the lease) and we just have a verbal agreement (he Pays weekly) but I want him out by mid December because I prefer living alone at this point. He is giving me a hard time about it even though I've sent him notice and repeatedly told him. I looked up the roommate holdover process in nyc but it seems really complicated to kick him out if it's a multiple dwelling. It says the property needs an agent but the landlords here are in their 80s and definitely dont have an agent.

Reply
nycatt (Oct 22, 2018 - 4:52 pm)

None of that you said makes sense, and very little is correct. Here is what matters: Your roommate has legal rights and if you don't come to an agreement with him, to get rid of him, you need to sue your roommate, win, get a judgment of possession, and then get a marshal to evict him. It will cost a lot to hire a lawyer to do it, and you will need one since you have no idea what you are talking about. Whether you are in a multiple dwelling law or not, you have to do a "really complicated" roommate holdover. Source: I have been real estate litigation exclusively for ten years. You don't have any good options. Every option I can think of has substantial risk. If you change the locks, he may sue you and can get treble damages. If you hire a lawyer, it will take many months and cost a lot. the best you can do is reach an agreement where he willingly leaves; maybe you offer to forgive the rent he owes you. You made a horrible mistake here.

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 22, 2018 - 5:14 pm)

What?? Well I called the housing dept and they said my unit is not in fact a multiple dwelling. It is registered legally and if the owner lives there, it isnt a multiple dwelling. So yes, I know I have to sue regardless of that fact though. I only brought it up because NYC courts specifically ask if the place is a multiple dwelling because then you need to put the registered agent. Roommate isnt on the lease so it will be much easier to win this. No, I never even thought about changing locks lol. I actually want to sue him. It's an easy case.

Reply
dingbat (Oct 22, 2018 - 5:47 pm)

I’m missing something about the dwelling. But that’s ok.

There is no such thing as an easy case. Even a “slam-dunk” takes time, money, and frustration. I can see several problems you’ll encounter, and I don’t even touch this area of the law. Listen to nycatt

Reply
nycatt (Oct 22, 2018 - 7:39 pm)

With respect to the multiple dwelling thing, you said there were three apartments, and if that is the case, it is an MDL. It sounds like your apartment may have been illegally converted, but that is something different. For the purposes of a summary proceeding petition, just say it is an MDL if it is registered as an MDL. If one lives in a multiple dwelling, the registration number is on the HPD website. Just type in the address and you will see it. here: https://hpdonline.hpdnyc.org/HPDonline/provide_address.aspx

If I get a new client, I am looking at that website, along with dob, finance department, and others, to learn more about building.

If you are going to do a petition yourself, which I do not recommend, I would consider using a blumberg form. It will keep you from making too many mistakes.

also, read housing court website closely, there is advice for non-lawyers for all steps in the long process.

Once you have been to a housing part, you won't be looking forward to getting off of work to go back 6 to 12 more times. Settle if you can. also - you will never collect any money from anyone. It is hard even for experienced lawyers to get money from rich people. Getting money from poor people is like getting blood from a stone. landlords don't even bother trying.

Reply
onehell (Oct 22, 2018 - 8:56 pm)

Not in NY so I have no idea about this MDL thing, but it's true pretty much everywhere that a sublet (oral or otherwise) creates all kinds of problems with no easy solution.

Honestly, if the guy won't leave voluntarily then in your shoes I'd probably just be looking to move out myself, such as by negotiating for an early leasebreak or looking for someone the landlord will approve to take over etc.

Reply
nycatt (Oct 22, 2018 - 10:03 pm)

The MDL thing wasn't even important. Op got hung up on the detail because it was required to bring a petition, but that is not in the top 100 problems he has.

The freeloader dude isn't even on the lease. OP is on the lease, so OP is responsible for MR. Freeloader holding over until OP leaves, even if it is past the term of the lease. Moving out is a risky option too because landlord can sue him if OP stays in NY (easy to find people using Lexis' people find program) or even in abstentia if landlord is willing to bring a motion to serve by some weird way (I have, for example, been able to serve by email if the aprties used email freelay and a party skipped town).

Reply
onehell (Oct 23, 2018 - 1:38 pm)

Presumably, if OP moves out, obtaining possession of the unit from subtenant will be a bigger priority for the landlord than skip-tracing OP and pursuing a money judgment that will likely be difficult to collect. And since as you said, the owner never agreed to lease to subtenant, landlord is in a better position to evict subtenant anyway.

EDIT: Sounds below like subtenant is willing to move out voluntarily, which would of course moot the issue.

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 22, 2018 - 10:15 pm)

OK guys thanks for all the advice. A couple of things though:

1. This guy DOES pay me rent (weekly) - he has never missed a payment yet.

2. He is poor in that he has a very limited budget and the room is reasonably priced.

3. The reason I want to end the roommate situation is because I can live alone now and no longer want to share -- nothing "bad" that the roommate has done.

4. My lease is yearly (it ends in December but in NYC it then becomes year to year...the landlord has no problem with me staying).

5. Multiple dwelling: yes, NYCCATT -- I looked at that website and it does have a registration number...but only the owner is listed as an agent. There are no open violations in the house, etc.

Nyccatt -- I very much agree with this you have written:

"Settle if you can. also - you will never collect any money from anyone. It is hard even for experienced lawyers to get money from rich people. Getting money from poor people is like getting blood from a stone. landlords don't even bother trying."

As of now, the roommate has NOT said that he is "not leaving", he is just giving me signs that he may stay. If that does happen, I will try to settle then...and in the meantime, cut off wifi and stove (Since law doesn't require landlords or anyone else to provide wifi and a stove). I think he will go crazy without the stove or wifi.

The irony is that he failed the bar and he claims he is home all day now because he's studying for the bar. He went to a 3rd rate law school and isn't the brightest dude. As of now he says he has no problem leaving by December but that "he doesn't have to" if he doesn't want to. We'll see.

Thanks again for all your advice. I'm really learning a lot.

Reply
nycatt (Oct 22, 2018 - 11:44 pm)

If he is paying you rent, it isn't such a bad problem as far as these things go. A (maybe) future lawyer has more to lose with judgments (even noncollectable ones) against him and is more likely to leave, and someone who can afford rent has options. Also, it is hard to rent again at a good apartment if you get sued in L&T court; so someone with a potential future might want to avoid that. Those who are willing to just stick around after the end of a lease usually stop paying rent at some point and have little to lose. Good luck. Be sure to try a polite conversation and let him know that you would like to take over the apartment because you can afford to and ask him how much time he needs to leave. Maybe he will be civil about it.

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 23, 2018 - 12:04 am)

Yes, definitely. I mean he even texted me today apologizing for his tone the other day and that apparently he does have "enough time" to plan. His main issue was that I'm asking him to leave mid-December and he wants to leave by the end of December...so maybe if I work out a deal in which he stays through December, this will work. He's pretty civil so far and that's why I haven't pressured him or escalated anything. We are civil to each other so far and he even praised me today for being "helpful". He definitely does seem worried about his potential future, so I think maybe like you say, this really won't be too much of a hassle especially if he's going to take the Bar.

Thanks again for your advice, nycatt.

Reply
nycatt (Oct 23, 2018 - 1:59 pm)

No problem. Settling is always better than litigation (unless you are one of the lawyers).

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 28, 2018 - 10:34 am)

Update -- although I had noticed my roommate drank beers here and there, I recently began to notice that he buys 12 packs and finishes them off sometimes in the same day. The other night he seemed drunk but functional...and didn't say anything "bad" to me, but not the nicest either. I mention this because...me being my usual investigative self, decided to go ahead with a background check on him.

Turns out -- he has a prior conviction in which he plead guilty to DUI and is now on probation until 2020...seems he got off light on that one.

Not only that, but he also happens to have a civil judgment against him as well...from a property management company in Illinois (although it is strange because court records say $0.00 is the amount of the judgment). The report says "this person moves a lot" and indeed (not counting the address now), he's lived in over 10 different addresses. His brothers all have criminal convictions as well ranging from domestic abuse to child porn (he had actually told me about the brother though, so that was no surprise).


Anyway, no problems with him yet...he has indicated that he is aware he needs to leave and that he is just "looking at his options" right now. We shall see.

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 31, 2018 - 9:02 am)

New update: my roommate lashed out at me last night for simply locking the front door (it's usually unlocked, but I feel safer when it is locked). He has a key anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue. He walked in and told me how unreasonable that was and that it's an inconvenience for him (even though he is much more of a nuisance to me and I was even nice enough to let him get away with weekly payments AND even letting him use his deposit money for October) since he has no job basically.

Now I AM DEFINITELY going to have to evict him - he won't pay November and he has told me that I can only "communicate" with him via e-mail. I told him now he no longer will have access to wifi (which is under my name and not guaranteed as a service on the lease -- he's not on any lease here either) and that he can no longer use my property in the kitchen --- he has none of his own stuff in terms of dishes, pots, pans, etc.

Reply
jd4hire (Oct 31, 2018 - 9:32 am)

What a dirty little tortfeasor.

Reply
dalocummelioribus (Oct 31, 2018 - 10:32 am)

Yup, he's really total scum. My other roommate (who isn't even my friend has told me how nice I have been to him letting him pay weekly, even sending him job posts to help him in a job search, cleaning up after him in the kitchen)...and now this. He says I am so "unreasonable"...so I asked, why don't you leave? Bottom line: you guys were right initially -- this guy has turned out to be a deadbeat. No wonder he already has a prior judgment against him.

Reply
Post a message in this thread