How can I get someone out of my illegal basement apartment in the Bronx? This is a question that comes up very frequently.
Many houses in the Bronx were built as mother/daughter homes in the first fifty years of the 1900’s. Some of these were two family dwellings with a summer kitchen and bathroom on the ground or basement floor. Others were converted by owners so their children could live downstairs. Others were converted so the elderly owners would not have to deal with steps. In others, garages were converted to living space without filing any permits. Still others are units that have been cut in half illegally.
In the City of New York, there are a multitude of regulations that deal with occupancy and rentals.
All buildings with three or more units are supposed to have a Multiple Dwelling Registration (MDR) number,
But, if you don’t have a Certificate of Occupancy for 3 families you can’t get a MDR number,
Since this number must be displayed on the Petition for Holdover (the Court case) it would seem a hopeless situation.
Fortunately in the First Department (Bronx and Manhattan) we can obtain in Housing Court, a Final Judgment of Possession even if you have an illegal apartment. You will not however get any rent.
Be prepared for a process that can take many months, especially if you have a Section 8 tenant as the Court has discretion to Stay execution of a Warrant of Eviction by the City Marshal.
Our recommendation is also that you check with an architect if your house is a brick house that is not attached on either side to any other home. You may be able to convert the house into a legal three family dwelling, get a new Certificate of Occupancy and a Multiple Dwelling Registration number. This would mean that you would be able to collect rent and utilize the Housing Court to obtain possession and a money judgment from any future tenant of that space !
We can tell you if your home has a Certificate of Occupancy on file with NYC and if there was a Multiple Dwelling Registration number assigned to your home during a free consultation.
We will also explain the eviction process, the steps that we would take on your behalf and the costs that may be incurred by you in gaining possession of that illegal apartment.
Remember if you do nothing you will never have possession of that space and will continue to be out of pocket for the utilities (hot water, electric and gas). Obtaining qualified legal counsel and knowing your rights and obligations is key to getting possession of your property.
Feel free to email me me with any questions