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Am I required to paint a Life Tenant's dwelling?

New York, NY |

I am the remainder man on a Life Estate in New York City . The Life Tenant is telling me I need to paint the premises every 3 years because she pays me $ 200 monthly towards the maintenance fees on the condo . From what I read , as a life tenant , she should have been required to pay all maintenance fees . We made an arrangement where she only has to pay $ 200 of those expenses which she is now calling stabilized rent . I need to know if I need to hire an attorney to explain this to her as she will not believe me .

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    Dear In need to know if I need an attorney?

    You need an attorney. You should have some documentation for the creation of the life tenancy in a condominium and those documents should state the terms of the life tenancy.

    In any case it is not likely that the life tenant is "stabilized" unless the tenant was a stabilized tenant in occupancy in the building and chose not to purchase the unit when offered the chance to do so in a non-eviction conversion offering plan. If that is the history for this tenant you must check the original offering plan and determine the plan's provisions for the rights of non purchasing tenants.

    New York City Housing Maintenance Code requires painting an occupied dwelling at the owner's expense every three years ( and in the real world the displeasure in getting ready to paint the apartment is enough for most tenants to forgo the painting every three years):

    "***Sec. 27-2013 Painting of public parts and within dwellings
    a. In the public parts of a multiple dwelling, and in a tenant-occupied dwelling unit in a one- or two-family dwelling, the owner shall:
    1. Paint or cover the walls and ceilings with wallpaper or other acceptable wall covering; and
    2. Repaint or re-cover the walls and ceilings with wallpaper or other acceptable wall covering whenever necessary in the judgement of the department to keep such surfaces sanitary.
    b. In occupied dwelling units in a multiple dwelling, the owner shall:
    1. Paint or cover the walls and ceilings with wallpaper or other acceptable wall covering; and
    2. Repaint or re-cover the walls and ceilings with wallpaper or other acceptable wall covering every three years, and more often when required by contract or other provisions of law.***"
    http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/hmc/sub2/art3.html

    So hire an attorney.

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


  2. If she does not believe you, then perhaps an attorney will be better able to explain.


  3. Hire an attorney, and do so ASAP.


  4. Agree with other counsel. Steve Smollens who often posts on this site (see profile link below) is a walking encyclopedia of the intricacies of NYC landlord-tenant and rent control laws and would have a good idea of what the precise answer is to your question and how to explain it to life tenant.

    This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. In particular, my answers and those of others are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely solely upon Legal Information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at http://www.avvo.com/support/terms . In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the Avvo.com site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".


  5. As the others have stated, you need a lawyer.

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