Monday, October 7, 2013

The Rights of a Tenant with no Lease

Straight from the New York Times' real estate Q&A section:

Q. My family has rented an unregulated full-floor apartment in a Brooklyn brownstone since early 2011. We renewed our lease in 2012 with no problem. This year, though, my husband called and e-mailed the landlord multiple times about renewing our lease, but the landlord has never replied. What are his obligations to provide us with a renewal lease? We have been told that the landlord is thinking about selling the building. If he does, what are our rights as tenants without a lease?

A. Sherwin Belkin, a Manhattan lawyer who represents property owners, says that once the writer’s last lease expired, she became a “month-to-month” tenant.

“An owner is not obligated to renew a free-market lease,” Mr. Belkin said, noting that if it is true that the owner is considering selling the building, it is generally easier to sell with month-to-month tenants than with tenants under a lease. If either the current or the new owner wants to evict a month-to-month tenant, he must provide at least 30 days’ notice, ending at the end of a month. So, for example, if the owner sends out the 30-day notice in the middle of October, the tenancy cannot be terminated before the last day of November.

Steve Clowney

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