Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph - Manhattan Tenant Rights and Representation Attorney
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Eviction Prevention Archives

New York City Council approves right to counsel measure for eviction proceedings

Legal representation is critical for tenants involved in disputes with their landlords. Landlords are typically more or less sophisticated in their understanding of their rights under the law. It is their business to understand their rights and to exercise them to protect their interests. Tenants, on the other hand, often don’t begin to really understand their legal rights until something goes wrong and they are forced to take action to protect their interests.

Quirky New York City housing laws

For those who expect nothing but logic and reason in New York City housing law, we will today help dispel that notion with a walk on the quirky side. Familiarity with the rules that govern landlord-tenant relationships in the city might one day prove useful to you, so please read on.

3 tips for NY tenants facing harassment due to immigration status

Harassment from a landlord based on immigration status isn't just frustrating, it's illegal. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has publically come out to criticize this practice, stating that it is "appalling."

Good-faith charity or bad-faith landlord?

The answer to the above-posed headline query in today's blog post rings adamantly clear for a number of New York state and municipal politicians who are joined by various tenants' advocacy groups in opposing the recent actions of a tax-exempt organization that also operates as a city landlord.

Disturbing and egregious: landlord's attempt to oust tenants

On the one hand, he made sure to deposit the rental payments dutifully made by long-time tenants of one of his many residential properties in New York City. In fact, he continued cashing those checks even months after the renters -- a family of seven -- had vacated the premises.

Can I Be Evicted For Accidentally Flooding My Neighbor's Apartment?

Legally speaking, a nuisance is defined as "a course of conduct which has caused substantial harm to other tenants, to the building, to the landlord's employees, or to the landlord," says Himmelstein, and unless the behavior in question is severe, repeated incidents are a key factor. So in this case, the fact that you've flooded your neighbor's place on multiple occasions does not work in your favor.

Owner Use Abuse

Our firm recently won a huge victory in a long, bitter and hard fought case entitled Samra v. Messeca. The case was an example of our work in eviction prevention. This was what is known as an "owner use" proceeding-an eviction case brought against a rent stabilized tenant because the landlord claims that they want to have an immediate family member-in this case one of the landlord's daughters- occupy the unit. In order to prevail in such a case, the landlord only needs to establish that he or she has a good faith, honest intention to have the family member live in the unit. Landlords frequently use owner occupancy as a ruse to evict rent stabilized tenants. This case was a textbook example of bad faith. There had been a long history of animosity between the tenant and the landlords. After recovering another apartment under the guise of owner occupancy, the family member for whom the apartment was sought did not move in; instead the landlord destabilized it and quadrupled the rent. Moreover, there were other apartments available which the landlord could have moved his daughter into, and blatant harassment of the tenant. In order to maintain an owner use case, the building must be owned by individuals; in this case, although the deed was transferred to an individual, the building was still managed and operated through a corporation. Tellingly, the landlord had attempted to coerce the tenant into accepting de facto and illegal deregulation of her apartment years before this case began, by suggesting that if she failed to agree, the landlord would evict her in an owner occupancy case. The court, in a 19 page decision, dismissed the case, citing these many factors and held that the landlord did not have a good faith desire to have his daughter occupy the apartment; in effect the court found that the landlord was lying and that the case was a sham. The tenant in this case was represented by Janet Ray Kalson and Sam Himmelstein.