Can I take my Landlord to court or sign a restraining order?

Asked about 1 year ago - Brooklyn, NY

My famliy has been in financial turmoil for about a year. We can't pay rent but we've been staying at our place of residence rent free for about a year now. It's not out of pity it's out of leverage. Our landlord refuses to go to court because she hasn't payed taxes in years so in order to get us out she has conformed to commiting acts of vandalism, violence against our family. We can't move out because we have no place else to go, we can't go to a shelter because she has yet to give us an eviction notice and doesn't plan to get one. This morning she claims that there is an overwhelming odor coming from us and she threw bleach on all of our property runing clothing and damaging electronics. What action can I take besides calling the police because that has made it worse.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Steven Warren Smollens

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

    You received one well thought out answer with suggestions and one pointless answer with an advertisement.

    You should not think that you would make matters worse with police involvement. Bleach attacks are serious offenses against the peace. The police would want to know how the landlord entered your apartment to commit her offense against your property, and the reason you did not immediately call for help. You now risk this landlord doing what she did to your clothes to your face and that makes no sense at all. She should have been locked up and examined in a hospital.

    You also misjudge the reason your landlord has not gone to court although you are not paying rent. Her tax issues would not impair her right to evict your family for not paying rent. Something else may block her going to court. If your building is a multiple dwelling (three or more apartments) and the landlord is not registered, or there is an impediment to registration, then she may know that she cannot use the procedure for a nonpayment proceeding in the Housing Court. You could check the legal status of the building at two New York City offices;

    at:

    New York City Housing Preservation and Development:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/home/home.shtml

    New York City Department of Buildings:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/home/home.shtml

    You could discover information at those city offices about the building including registration information, reports of violations, certificate of occupancy and issues relating to compliance with the Housing Maintenance Code and Buildings Code.

    Your landlord may also want you to initiate a civil lawsuit especially if she is prevented from using the ordinary summary proceeding. In a lawsuit you bring she could counterclaim for an action in ejectment based on termination of your tenancy or based on nonpayment of rent. The impediments to a summary proceeding may not act to thwart a regular civil action for possession. If you start the lawsuit, you pay all the start up costs including index number and process server fees, where all the landlord needs to do to bring her issues into that lawsuit is serve an answer with a counterclaim.

    You may need to consult with an attorney and you and the attorney should evaluate your present state of mind about not using the police to assist you in dealing with a violent and dangerous individual.

    By the way. Attorneys do not need to monitor the AVVO site for a comment. When another answer is posted or when a comment is posted where the attorney answered, AVVO notifies the attorney with an Email. And any attorney working this site will notice without a prompt when another answer is posted to a question answered by that attorney.

    Good luck.

    You may provide more information with a comment, and I will know without having to monitor this site.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should... more
  2. Jayson Lutzky

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . You should contact the police, get a criminal court complaint and restraining order. Your landlord is crazy and dangerous for throwing bleach. Consult with an attorney about suing the landlord for damages.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate... more
  3. Sean Thomas Wright

    Contributor Level 12

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Outside of calling the police, I don't think you have much option other than to bring a suit against her in Supreme Court with an order to show cause containing an injunction. For you to get an order of protection there will have to be a criminal prosecution. I don't see any reason why her tax situation would prevent her from taking you to housing court, unless she is acting on some misconception about what would happen in court. Good luck.

  4. Hayley R. Greenberg

    Contributor Level 16

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am sorry to hear about your situation.

    You should contact an attorney to discuss your questions as additional information would be helpful. But you might want to file in court against her.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Please remember that I do not normally monitor these questions after I have posted a reply.

    Free phone consultation Monday — Thursday 1-5 pm.

    Hayley Greenberg

    Greenberg & Merola, LLP, Attorneys at Law
    91 N. Franklin Street, Suite 211, Hempstead, NY 11550, (516) 887-1975

    521 5th Ave. Ste. 1700, New York, NY 10175, (212) 593-6111

    Additional Offices: Queens & Brooklyn

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