Can my friend's landlords legally force her out of her apartment with only 30 days notice?
posted by TryTheTilapia to law & government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Okay, apologies for the length, but here's the situation...my friend has lived in the garden apartment of a two family home in Brooklyn for the past three years. She used to be quite friendly with her landlords, a married couple who were also her upstairs neighbors.
Well, about a year ago, the couple split up. The husband moved in with his new girlfriend, while the wife lived on in the house and took over all landlord duties such as rent collection and maintenance. Apparently, she's much more proficient at one than the other. I'm sure you can guess which.
Anyway, around the time they split, my friend was to have signed a lease renewal. She never signed one and she's been living without a lease since then. My friend says she has never missed a rent payment and has always paid on time. She says she repeatedly asked for a lease from the wife who basically put her off until she stopped asking. She also says she repeatedly asked for her bathroom plumbing to be fixed, for constant rather than intermittent hot water, and for functional heat during the winter months. These were not forthcoming, either. She claims that, after the last time she went almost a week without hot water, the wife told her, "Well, I don't know what to tell you." Apparently in the last six months the wife has found a new boyfriend and spends only a few days out of each month living in the upstairs unit, so she isn't affected by a lack of heat or hot water in the building.
In any event, my friend received a call this past Friday from the wife's lawyer saying the house has been sold, the new owner does not want a tenant, and that she has to be out of the apartment by August 1. She became livid and panicked - she has two dogs and a cat, no savings at the moment, no car and has just switched jobs. She immediately began searching around on Craig's List and found a place that allows dogs and is within her price range. She viewed the apartment on Saturday, talked with the broker, and, after venting to him about the whole mess, he apparently told her that if the landlords have been cashing her rent checks, under New York law, that implies a lease agreement, which means that she can't be forced to move with only 30 days notice.
She is now under the impression that this gives her the upper hand with her landlords, and has decided to try to talk to the husband about paying for her move AND giving back her security deposit if she AGREES to leave in 30 days. She's also considering squatting in the apartment if he refuses, until she saves up money for a new place (her mother could financially help her out but, ah, familial issues are preventing her from going this route for the time being.) I think she ought to take the new apartment, forfeit her security deposit for her last month's rent, bite the bullet and borrow the security deposit/first month's rent from her mother and step-father, and charge the move to a credit card. She doesn't want to do any of that. She is angry and panicked, and wants somebody to pay rather than cutting her losses and getting out of this situation ASAP. She kept saying, "It's illegal!" Well, perhaps she's right and I'm wrong. I just can't see getting involved in a legal battle doing her any good right now, given that she has so few resources as it is. She also is just recently getting over a bad breakup, and suffers with depression. If she took the new apartment, she'd be closer to me and my SO, and closer to work, as well.
So, can she legally be put out of the apartment after only 30 days notice if she doesn't have a lease? If not, what's her best course of action? I can't imagine her landlord is going to give her what amounts to $3000 for the cost of her move and security deposit combined. I care for her and want to support her through this, but I need some additional opinions/insight in order to do that effectively. Google yields conflicting, sometimes directly contradictory, results. Thanks to all.