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What are her options as a "Licensee" if any in a 10 day notice to quit?

Brooklyn, NY |

A friend was served a 10 day notice to quit by her brother who is assumed to be the landlord. She has been living in her building since 1960 when it was owned by the fist homeowner and has a legal notarized document from her mother who purchased the property in 1982 from the original homeowner and paid the mortgage . The document was signed and dated in 1996 stating that if she (the mother who purchased the home) passed away she wanted the property to be equally divided between her 2 children, as well as receipts showing payments to the original owner to purchase said property. She has been living in the building longer than the alleged landlord and was never required to pay rent to her brother "the alleged landlord" thus being a licensee. Their mother passed now he is trying to evict her.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Dear Friend:

    Your "friend" needs an attorney, because only her brother may claim she is a "licensee" instead of a co-owner of the property.

    In a licensee holdover the petitioner is not required to prove a landlord relation with the respondent: A claim that the person entered into possession without a lease agreement - in other words, became an occupant by reason of permission given by a person who had a right to possession - allows a new person claiming a greater right to possession to terminate the "license" and demand the occupant vacate the premises. Based on your statement about your friend's possession, she had as much an interest in the possession as her brother and cannot be a licensee.

    In order for the brother to prove a greater interest in the ownership of the property than your friend the brother had to succeed their mother as the lawful owner of the property. If he has a deed he is the owner. Based upon your information the mother did not intend one of her children to have a superior right than the other in the house.

    Exploring how the brother acquired his deed is important to defending your friend's right to continue to live in the house.

    Winning her case in the AVVO forum is not the same as meeting an attorney for a face to face review of all the salient facts, that an attorney may discern. Hiring an attorney to defend her right to possession against her brother's claim is essential.

    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. Your friend needs to have a lawyer evaluate the brothers claim to be in exclusive title to the property. If the mother died without a will and there are only two surviving children your friend may be co-owner with a right to bring a partition action. and certainly has a defense to a licensee holdover proceeding.

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