What are my rights regrading an illegal apartment?

I lost my job and am backed up in rent 4 months. My landlord refuses to give me my mail and refuses to give me rent receipts now he’s threatening to start an eviction process. I was looking on-line for evictions and I came across illegal apartments. By the looks of it my attic apartment is illegal. I looked this house up and this is a 2 family dwelling, not a 3 family. In my apartment there are no smoke detectors, no window guards for my child, a fake fire escape. What should I do?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that you are residing in an illegal rental and your landlord is giving you a difficult time concerning failure to provide you with mail delivered to you by the United States Postal Service, you should do the following:

1. consult with a landlord tenant attorney over the treatment you are receiving from your landlord and the possibility that you are residing in an illegal rental.

2. contact your local building and permit department to have an inspection concerning your rental to make sure that it is legal and up to code. If it is not legal and up to code, your landlord will end up being cited. Potentially if you are living in an illegal unit, you may not have to pay the rent claimed owed by the landlord.

Good luck.


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