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Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Smollens’s Answers

7,864 total


  • Do I have to go to NYC Housing Court to take possession of an apartment in my 2 family home?

    I served tenant holdover notice to terminate occupancy, she then moved out, left the door unlocked and the keys on the window sill where I can see them from the outside. Can I take the apt back without going to court?

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Staten Island Property Owner:

    If you have any doubt at all that the tenant truly moved out and surrendered possession to you based on the tenancy termination notice, then I would suggest you seek a formal written surrender from the tenant. If you cannot do so, I would hope you would consult a local attorney for an opinion about commencing a summary holdover proceeding.

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  • Do I have the right to move forward with an eviction of my tenants?

    This will be the second month in a row that my tenants are only able to pay $700 of their $1150 rent. They have admitted that they do not know how they will ever be able to pay it back and might not be able to pay the rent in full moving forward....

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Syracuse Landlord:

    A landlord in your situation has to choose whether to charge the tenant with a lease violation, demand a cure, and terminate the tenancy if the tenant remains in breach of the lease (keeps the cats) and so commence a summary holdover proceeding to get the tenant into court. Or, since the tenant cannot pay the monthly rent, make a formal written rent demand as any landlord is allowed when a tenant defaults in paying rent and commence a summary nonpayment proceeding. The process involved in the nonpayment proceeding will bring you into court quicker than charging the tenant with a breach of lease.

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  • I rent a room in a 4 bedroom apt. The landlord is evicting one of the people, in the process the fridge died.

    When I told her about it she said she's not replacing it yet till after the eviction is done, is this leagal because of the pending eviction? or just her being a ass ? And when I asked her a second time she said that if I don't like the situation ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    Unless you and the other persons in this apartment are tenants in a legal hotel, rooming house or SRO, your "landlord" is illegally profiteering in the renting of multiple rooms in a leased apartment. The NYC Department of Buildings has the power to shut her down and fine the actual landlord of the building for allowing a tenant to operate an illegal hotel.

    Your "criminal" landlord does not care about refrigerators or the statutory Warranty of Habitability. Take charge of the situation and hire a lawyer.

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  • Personal injury mta pedestrian

    i was hit by an mta bus about 6 months ago, had my lower leg injured (tibia and fibula), had to undergo a surgery, was hospitalised for a week and have been bed resting ever since and now I'm finally off my crutches. My lawyer won't tell me what a...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Jamaica Plaintiff:

    You should be concerned if your attorney did not file the required notice of claim within 90 days of your accident. If the notice was filed a lawsuit may be premature.

    Read more at: http://www.injuriesandaccidents.com/court-rejects-plaintiffs-notice-of-claim-to-new-york-city-transit-authority-in-mta-bus-accident/

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  • What legal relief can I request when a landlord repeatedly has breached a stipulation in Housing Court

    The stip entails access to the unit for the purpose of treating a bed bug infestation. The tenant is afflicted with a lung disease and cannot be subjected to chemicals. Judge approved stip to treat unit with alternative methods such as cryonite an...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    I n event the court determines a persistent breach of a stipulation, the court may decide to award attorney fees to the prevailing non-breaching party, direct enforcement of the terms of the stipulation subject to the power of the court to impose a penalty for contempt of court, subject the landlord and counsel a sanction and fine, make such other order as may be proper to effectuate the original purpose of the stipulation, to exterminate the apartment with alternate methods.

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  • Landlord Entering Without Consent

    I am moving in about 3 weeks and my landlord wants to bring another person in to look at the house. I told him that I'm not comfortable with that. I would rather he wait a couple of weeks until my things are out the house. He refused and said he w...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Buffalo Tenant:

    The written lease agreement sets out the terms for the owner's right of access to the rented premises. The typical lease provision requires 24 hours advance notice. Barring the landlord when the landlord made proper advance notice does not allow the landlord the right to enter. If the landlord enters along with a future tenant both may commit an unlawful trespass. You could make a criminal complaint. Post a conspicuous sign warning against trespassing.

    On the other hand, the unlawful entry into the apartment may be considered as a breach of lease and an actual (albeit wrongful ) eviction. A tenant who suffers a trespass may declare the lease terminated and move oout.

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  • Am I committing a crime by repackaging foods for my boss to sell as his own?

    I work in a pretty shady organic food place in NYC that sells this "Homemade Organic Lemonade" (also Ice Tea and Apple Cider, all with a similar situation) that is actually this 99 cent lemonade from the bodega down the street. When one looks at t...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear New York Packer:

    You may be aiding in the commission of a crime. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs may close the business if aware of the product deception.

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  • Do I need to get permission from my landlord to have my boyfriend stay with me for a month or so?

    My boyfriend will be losing his apartment on July 20th. I was thinking of him staying with me until he finds a new apartment. Is it illegal to have him stay for a month of two with me?

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    It is not illegal. Consider your boy friend as your "Roommate". All residential tenants every where in New York State are allowed a Roommate without advance landlord permission.

    Just look up: "NYC tenant rights Roommates"

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  • What is required to prove in NYC Housing Court a breach of warranty of habitability?

    Lived two family house for 4 years on a month to month basis. Recently found out the owner performed some work without a permit 4 years ago which resulted in the DOB issuing a class 1 hazardous violation two month ago. I complained to the landlo...

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Flushing Tenant:

    If you moved out after the landlord served a notice to quit NO HOUSING COURT CASE is proper. A landlord cannot start a nonpayment proceeding (for possession based on a default in paying rent) after the tenant already moved out because the landlord terminated the monthly tenancy. The essential ingredient of a landlord and tenant proceeding is that the tenant is in possession against the landlord's demand to move out after a lease termination or pay rent (or move out) after a Rent Demand. The Housing Court does not have jurisdiction when possession of the leased premises is not an issue.

    If you had an attorney the attorney focus would be to get the case out of court and expunge the record of its existence to prevent the tenant client landing on the dreaded Tenant Blacklist.

    Your lawyer would inform you that there is likely no provable damage from the breach of the statutory Warranty of Habitability. You did not know about the issue and the violation did not impact upon your use of the apartment. As a month to month tenant you were free to leave at any time you chose to "mitigate" damages and did not do so until the landlord terminated the tenancy.

    When a tenant counterclaims in a case where the court otherwise would need to dismiss a case as improper, the tenant may inadvertently confer jurisdiction, although a good argument is available that a party cannot confer jurisdiction on the court when the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction in the initial instance.

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  • Is a Landlord required by PA law to provide a new tenant with a Property Inspection Form?

    Landlord - Tenant Law, Pgh., PA

    Steven’s Answer

    Dear Pittsburgh Tenant:

    I am licensed as an attorney in New York State. I do not practice law in Pennsylvania. You may make your inquiry to this office in the City of Pittsburgh: http://pittsburghpa.gov/pli/

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