Dolgetta Law

Illegal Apartments and the Collection of Rent

This article addresses the recent decision in the Civil Court in the City of New York (Richmond County) (Staten Island) issued by Judge Philip S. Straniere, dated September 19, 2012. The case involves a not unusual circumstance, the rental of an illegal apartment by a Landlord and the consequences to the Landlord and Tenant of such illegality.

Mary Beth Acquino, Plantiff, v. Gilbert Ballester, Defendant
2012 NY Slip OP 22267

On May 11, 2007, the Defendant, Gilbert Ballester, purchased a two-family house at 45 Elm Street, Staten Island, New York. The mortgage executed at closing clearly indicates that the premises was “improved by a one or two family dwelling.” Evidence adduced at trial indicated that the Landlord had created illegal apartments in the basement and attic of the building. The Plaintiff, Mary Beth Acquino, observed that there were four apartments in the building, rented the basement apartment and indicated that she believed that the Defendant, Gilbert Ballester, lived in the attic.

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