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Can locking cellar be considered harassment or could be dangerous due that it can be used as an alternate exit to building.

Brooklyn, NY |

for 46 years the cellar was always open (I do not remember but some govt agency said back then it was supposed to be kept open) its now closed due to the fact that HPD/DOB Issued a Violation for using the cellar as a living space and now its locked because of this and as a form of retaliation to keep me out (note my electric breaker panel /meter is there and so is the gas valve/meter and emergency hot and cold water valves ( can not shut my hot water from my apartment (note no super exists ) and some illegal work has been done recently to cellar as well. But I can not get in is there some way to force LL to keep it open 24h as it used to be in past, sometimes I need to read my meter or need switch a breaker back on after hrs when power shuts down also this route can be used as exit

the cellar has 2 exits that lead to the outside 1 to street/front 1 to backyard . If an emergency happens and the main exit is blocked by a fire or debris then the other way out of this building is the cellar but if its locked and guarded like they are hiding something then people can get hurt because if we manage to use the fire escapes you need to get into the cellar to leave the building or you end up in the backyard with no way out. If in lobby of building and main exit is blocked then only choice is to go downstairs to the cellar and use it to leave building ,ever since they were caught because they were using cellar as living space and I went down to have my electric meter checked and HPD seen cellar had beds and fridge ect. this is why now its being locked it was never before in the past it was always open and available 24 hours a day 365 days a year I think they are doing this to hide something and as retaliation for getting violations.

Attorney Answers 1


Dear Brooklyn Tenant:

If the City ordered the closing and locking of the entrance to the cellar the use of the cellar as a secondary means of egress should have been part of the decision process. The fact that the City caused the closing of the entrance to the cellar eliminates the idea that your landlord is retaliating against you.

You may call for an inspection using the city's central complaint number 311.

Your landlord should call the local firehouse for an inspection to learn whether the cellar must be accessible as a means of egress in an emergency.

If you landlord will not make the call, you could call for a follow up inspection.

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.

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the city only ordered to stop using the cellar as a living space and to remove items used in a kitchen but no order to lock doors or to put locks on doors it was only the LL idea to do this to keep inspectors and me out of cellar

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens


OK. Then call 311 to make a complaint and the local FDNY to inspect for closing secondary means of egress.



thanks so it was probably the FDNY in the past that ordered it open 24/7 I needed to find out what the violation was or regulation since I am up to my ears in illegal issues in this building and been reporting many problems in the past months and not many have been resolved.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens


OK. Check for Housing violations at HPDOnline: And for Building Department violations at:

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