What are my rights regarding an eviction if I rented an apartment that turned out to be illegal?

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What are my rights regarding an eviction if I rented an apartment that turned out to be illegal?

I fell behind on rent so my landlord took me to court. I had 3 weeks to pay or move. I needed more time and got an order to show cause. I was going to get rent help from DSS but it turns out the apartment is illegal. I got another order to show cause and agreed to move in 30 days (=since my boyfriend was starting new job (and I thought that I could afford to move out by then). The job turned out to be part-time and I still can’t afford to move. The case was turned into a holdover case. Can I get another order to show cause since it’s not my fault the apartment is illegal and I couldn’t get rent help in the first place?

Asked on March 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In New York, landlords cannot rent apartments that are illegal. They cannot rent apartments that don't meet the warranty of habitability; so an illegal apartment no matter how pretty it is may not be allowed if it violates zoning and other laws or doesn't include certain necessities like hot running water and electricity. So, in your situation, your landlord cannot continue to maintain such actions against you. You must move out but he must pay your expenses to move you; so you really get the best of both worlds. You don't have to come up with the money to move; he must pay it and once you move to a legal apartment, I am certain you can reapply for help from DSS and it would be granted.


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