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Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Smollens’s Answers

8,189 total


  • The McKinney Law states that a immediate family member can move in. Does that law supersede the Village of Westbury, NY's law?

    My partner and I rent a the 2nd Floor of a two story house, with a live in landlord. A few months ago my partner's sister broke up with her significant other and need a place to stay. So, we took her in. In Westbury, NY there is a ordinance about ...

    Steven’s Answer

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    Dear Westbury Tenant:

    If you and your partner are both named tenants on the lease, State law overrides any lease provision that would not let you have a member of the tenant's immediate family live with the tenant.

    The same law does not allow a roommate to occupy an apartment or home with two tenants on the lease and both tenants living in the apartment.

    Inviting a family member into your home is not subletting; it is a fundamental right of all New York tenants. The "family member" is not a tenant and not a renter.

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  • Renting NYC condo 3 years w/ no increase/renewal. Owner calls-$100 mo increase. Have paid. No lease, asked 4X. Please advise.

    Moved to condo rental in 7/11. Left disabled after getting hit by cab 12/08. Owner has 1st/last mo plus 2 mos security. Rent has never been 1 minute late. Am quiet tenant. Never rec'd lease renewal after 1st yr (I asked: told not to worry) until 6...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear NYC Condo Tenant:

    In New York City, unless a tenancy is regulated by the Rent Stabilization Law, no law city, state or federal compels a landlord to renew or offer to renew a residential lease. In NYC a tenant renting a condominium apartment from the unit owner is not a Rent Stabilized tenant. When a lease ends and the tenant stays and continues to pay rent accepted by the landlord in the agreed amount, a month to month tenancy begins. That tenancy will continue until the tenant chooses to not pay rent, or the landlord decides to end the tenancy (a thirty day notice) or the landlord proposes a new rent and the tenant declines to pay more rent at a higher rate.

    It does seem your landlord is undecided at this moment. A new lease for a definite term will allow you to stay, but a tenancy termination notice will end the tenancy (that is a properly served written thirty day tenancy termination notice is a necessary prelude to an eviction proceeding in the NYC Housing Court.)

    Do you believe your landlord is ready to hire a lawyer to start the legal process to get you to move? If not, then you are safe in the short term.

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  • Motion to preclude previously submitted evidence

    Is it possible for a judge to preclude previously submitted evidence? The other party's attorney is asking for the resubmission through Discovery which I refused since they have access to everything previously submitted, now they are moving to pre...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear New York Litigant:

    How did the other side have access to everything previously submitted? Did the court order discovery? Are the documents you did not provide identified in a Notice to Produce for Inspection (and copying) and associated with a notice to conduct an examination before trial?

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  • What is the eviction process of a residents from a commercial unit in Brooklyn?

    I have been living in my apartment since 2009. A few years after moving in, I realized that it's certificate of occupancy was for commercial use. Since Oct. 2014 I have been on a month to month lease. The landlord guaranteed he was going to renew ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    Do not pass up on the opportunity to discover that your residential tenancy may be protected.

    If your lease described renting an apartment and described the legal use as a residence and the apartment came with a working bathroom and kitchen, then notwithstanding the lack of a residential certificate of occupancy your tenancy may have protection from the NYC Loft Law and that could mean you are or should be a Rent Stabilized tenant entitled to a lease renewal and immune from eviction based only on lease expiration.

    If you and other tenants reside in the building and the building has the look of residential apartments and your lease allowed for residential use you may likely have legal protection against eviction.

    Look up now: NYC Loft Board, Loft Law and how to keep an apartment in a building without a residential C of O. Then get in touch with a tenant rights attorney.

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  • If you former employer tricks you into committing a fraud, are they committing a fraud.

    I used to work and live at a Very private club, and I got to know a lot about their private lives and I wanted to leave and I resigned in an email, and they wanted me leave also because they found out that I was HIV positive, and after I left...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear New York Employee:

    Yes it is likely fraudulent behavior to accept unemployment in New York when gainfully employed in Florida.

    That is on your head not on a former employer or on a member of the Club. You went out-of-state to gain a driver license and a job and as soon as you began to work had to end the New York unemployment.

    As pointed out by another attorney if your firing was due to an act of discrimination then you had other remedies other than committing fraud.

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  • What rights do I have as a tenet? Living in a infestation bed bug apartment building.my e-mail address is iva424@gmail.com ty

    Moved from another apartment that someone moved up above me and had bed bugs so of course I got them and lost everything I mean everything caz the landlord refused to do anything about it. ..well I find another apartment not knowing once again BIN...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Kingston Tenant:

    You are absolutely correct. The landlord is bound to eradicate the bed bug infestation throughout the building as all tenants will suffer the loss as you have of the use and pleasure of the home and personal property loss. A regular exterminator should know that clearing bed bugs from an inhabited building requires special skill and experience.

    Read more at: http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/December-2010/Beating-the-Bedbug-Epidemic/

    See attached links.

    You could have saved your clothing and furniture. Many tenants with bed bugs now know how to do so. There are many consumer products available. Clothing, linens, bedding, are saved by securely bagging, hot water laundry, and heat. Many exterminators provide tools for tenants to save their property. Heat as well as extreme cold will save furniture. Proper bed bug encapsulating covers will save mattresses and box springs.

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  • What rights do I have as a tenet? Living in a infestation bed bug apartment building.

    Moved from another apartment that someone moved up above me and had bed bugs so of course I got them and lost everything I mean everything caz the landlord refused to do anything about it. ..well I find another apartment not knowing once again BIN...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Kingston Tenant:

    You are absolutely correct. The landlord is bound to eradicate the bed bug infestation throughout the building as all tenants will suffer the loss as you have of the use and pleasure of the home and personal property loss. A regular exterminator should know that clearing bed bugs from an inhabited building requires special skill and experience.

    Read more at: http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/December-2010/Beating-the-Bedbug-Epidemic/

    See attached links.

    You could have saved your clothing and furniture. Many tenants with bed bugs now know how to do so. There are many consumer products available. Clothing, linens, bedding, are saved by securely bagging, hot water laundry, and heat. Many exterminators provide tools for tenants to save their property. Heat as well as extreme cold will save furniture. Proper bed bug encapsulating covers will save mattresses and box springs.

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  • My tenant passed away recently with no will.

    My tenant recently passed away and did not leave a will. The tenant's godchild says they are authorized to take care of things because they have power of attorney. They agreed to move everything out of the apartment but agreed (verbally) to leave...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Landlord:

    Lock the door and secure the apartment. A power of attorney ends at the time of death of the maker. A "godchild" is not next-of-kin or even immediate family. The entire contents of the apartment are property of the Estate of the deceased tenant. Even without a will, those possessions are not up for grab by the speedy persons who come first through the door. The "right way" for any person seeking legal power to deal with those possessions is through a court order of temporary letters of administration by the Surrogates Court of Kings County. Otherwise, you just witnessed some stealing.

    The appliances are yours. The tenant had the right to demand you replace the stove and refrigerator. If you did not and the tenant moved in a new stove and refrigerator the tenant owed it to you to return your ols appliances or leave behind the replacements.

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  • Can I still receive a buyout if I stopped paying rent?

    I live in a rent controlled apt which rent is $600/month. I haven't paid in the past 8 months because small repairs have not been done in my home. I don't have a lease. My landlord has texted me about my non payment of rent and I've ignored her. S...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    You have made a poor decision to hold onto rent. A rent controlled tenant has a lifetime guarantee of tenancy, without need for a renewal lease, and all the tenant need to do to protect a right to live forever in the apartment is pay rent. If you had small repairs and the repairs were not made, Housing Court will not even award an abatement in your nonpayment trial without the city citing the landlord for violations of the Housing Maintenance Code if you called 311 to complain and an inspector came to verify the defective conditions.

    No landlord will ever offer a significant ($100,000 or more) buyout for a Rent Controlled tenant who is handing a landlord a simple and easy eviction lawsuit by not paying rent. No landlord offers a significant buyout when the tenant asks for a buyout. If at all possible, maximize your position by not jeopardizing your tenancy by withholding rent in a Rent Controlled apartment.

    Hire a lawyer (experienced tenant rights attorney) now.

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  • Is it lawful for management to proceed with eviction notice if you are making payments?

    Ive been behind in my maintenence of my co-op for 3 months due to being home sick and not being able to work because I have fibromyalgia and severe inflammed athritis! Ive been making payments but when i can get some money. I owe $2443.32 amd i ju...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Bronx Coop Owner:

    An "eviction notice"? Are you sure? If so, you were sued in a nonpayment proceeding, a default judgment was entered because you did not defend the lawsuit, and an eviction warrant was issued to an NYC Marshal, who then served a 72 Hour Eviction Notice. If that is what happened, run to court on Tuesday and secure an Order to Show Cause to stop the eviction. Check out the information about dealing with a default judgment and an eviction notice at: https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/vacatingjudg.shtml

    Or, are you looking at a Rent Demand, or at a Notice of Petition and Petition?

    In any case, a landlord including a cooperative after proper service on the tenant or shareholder of a written rent demand (the New York Three Day Notice) may commence a summary nonpayment proceeding if the rent claimed due in the demand is not paid. A landlord is allowed to demand rent if rent is owed after the due date to pay rent.

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