Catch-22 Situation and Need Some Advice (Maybe Legal??)

@pyewacket (43962)
United States
October 9, 2007 1:12am CST
okay here is the scenario: My grandmother, mother and I moved into this apartment. The original lease was in my grandmother's name. When she died in 1986, my mother never formerly changed the name on the lease to hers, and instead of paying the rent by check with her name on it got money orders and signed the money orders under her mother's name..uh, this in itself was actually probably illegal, but the landlord did accept the money orders nonetheless. Over the years there were minimal rent increases, and because we were considered rent-control since we had moved prior to 1973 when apartment where thereafter rent-stabilized, our rent was cheap...Now legally we had the right to remain here due to the law of succession deal...her mother was the original leasee, and by blood we had the right to remain here, and besides we had lived here all along anyway. Then in around 2000 we didn't get anymore rent increases and the rent became frozen at the same amount due to my mother being a senior citizen, which is also allowable with the SCRIE program. Okay here is where it gets sticky. Now my mother died last year on August 27, 2006. Almost right away, to save my hide, and thinking in legal terms, I decided to apply for DRIE (Disability Rent Increase Exemption) --the idea being that since I'm on disability benefits and to prevent my landlord from taking it in his head to raise the rent, I applied--so I sent just about every form of documentation to verify my application, but they kept saying they needed more valid proof, that is some kind of official lease in MY name to verify I live there...yeesh. Well I did manage to get some other documents from the housing department, but there really still is nothing official with my name on it..it still has my grandmother's name on everything..like I said, my mother never changed it..why...don't ask. Now here's my dilemma....To get this "official" documentation and a lease with MY name on it, naturally means contacting the landlord..which I admit I've been hesitant to do even after all this time...my thinking is that he might take it into his head to raise my rent suddenly and for a lot more than what I'm paying which is still the frozen rent from 2000.. Now he knows very well I live here, as he has been accepting money orders from me IN MY NAME for over a year now. The problem is that the new rule of succession changes after the first person after the original leasee...Yes, my mother was covered by the rule, but even though I'm of the same blood family line and have lived here all my life, I might be obligated to pay more rent nonetheless, thus the reason for my applying for DRIE to prevent any rent increases. So like what do I do??...To get accepted in the DRIE program I need this documentation of a lease under my name...but if I approach the landlord to GET this, he might raise my rent, big time...see the Catch-22 situation I'm in? Okay maybe many of you haven't been able to follow this as it is all legal smeagal stuff, but I do tend to think legalise anyway...LOL So please --advice here maybe??
7 people like this
13 responses
@mfpsassy (2827)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Do you get a reciept every month in your name? Boy I really am not sure. Maybe wait till they accept your next rent payment, and then tell him you need a rental agreement in your name to get your i.d renewed or something that doesn'tlet him know it's about money.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
9 Oct 07
What receipts???? LOL..in all the years I've lived here back to 1961 there have never been receipts issued out to us for payment of rent What I do though, is when I send the money order, I do have that receipt, plus the PO receipt and I send my money orders by certified mail..I can track it, and get the receipt of when it was delivered and accepted and I print it up
3 people like this
@mfpsassy (2827)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Wow I am not sure than. Do you have any sort of housing athority that you could get some advice from
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
9 Oct 07
We do have a housing authority thing here but gee, try calling them...it's one of those automated things and you never get to talk to a real person--yeesh
1 person likes this
@Amberina (1542)
• United States
9 Oct 07
I would contact legal aid and see what they have to say, in Oregon if the landlord accepts money from someone who is not on the lease but signs the check in thier name they are automatically on the lease. So the landlord has to make up a new lease and put thier name on it.
3 people like this
• United States
9 Oct 07
I wonder if that is not also true in NY?
2 people like this
@Amberina (1542)
• United States
9 Oct 07
I'm sure there has to be a tenant advocate office somewhere?
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
10 Oct 07
I plan to get in contact with this woman who helped me out who is a representative of my Congressman..she helped me out once before but on a disability issue, so she can't help directly but might know someone who can. The landlord certainly knows I've been living here since 1961, but he's such a shat that he could give any excuse to get me out just to get another tenant in to get more rent
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Seems to me that since he has been taking the money orders with your name on them that he has accepted that you live there and that you have always lived there as he knows it also looks like in that years time he could have raised the rent or had you re sign the lease. I would think that they would take this in and let you stay with no rent increase but then I am not a lawyer
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
10 Oct 07
Well first I'll contact that DRIE thing again and see what happened to my application anyway, if they accepted what I had recently sent them...they're not exactly fast about things--LOL
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
10 Oct 07
ok and is any Government place fast!?
• United States
9 Oct 07
It does seem to be a catch-22. You're in a very sticky situation. Because it's not like you can just up and move so easily if your landlord DOES decide to raise the rent on you when you ask him for an official lease. Rent is outrageous everywhere in NY I imagine. BUT on the other hand he might be on your side with this because he hasn't tried to do it yet (unless he's just not very smart). I hate to tell you what to do because I wouldn't want to be responsible for your rent being raised...I wouldn't know what to do myself.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Rents are ridiculous here...the average is $1,200 a month for a studio...I've been paying only $529 per month...if I were to move he could raise it to at least a thousand for the next tenant--or raise mine that much..
2 people like this
• United States
10 Oct 07
WOW! I couldn't imagine rent that much. Let us know what you end up doing :)
@thefortunes (2368)
• Netherlands
9 Oct 07
Hi Pye, is there no way to contact some legal person who deals with housing, an attorney maybe? I've never been in such a situation myself, and wouldn't know how you could handle it. It is really tough and I hope you could do whatever needed so that your rent will not be raised. TheFortunes
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Getting in contact with legal help of course would cost me money though that I don't have...most lawyers want a minimum basic starter fee of $1,000..Our Legal Aid system for those of limited income quite frankly sucks...LOL
2 people like this
• Netherlands
9 Oct 07
Sorry to hear that the attorney are so expensive. However you are on a disability pension of kinds, and, than you should have the right to use a pro bono lawyer too, no Pye? Here in The Netherlands when people are on some sort of disability pension, and, or not earning enough they can make use of pro bono lawyers, and pay very law costs if any at all. TheFortunes
2 people like this
@pismeof (855)
• United States
9 Oct 07
The only suggestion I could say is to submit copy's of the checks with your name on it.Otherwise contact a housing authority lawyer and have them contact your landlord for a lease agreement. If I were you PYE,I'd work it out and quickly if your ever brought to court and found guilty of trying to use fraud against the landlord you'll be put out on your behind and I know trying to get cheap rent in N.Y. isn't an easy task.
@BarBaraPrz (16324)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
9 Oct 07
red tape - Book cover showing Bronwyn (Pyewacket?) battling the dreaded Red Tape Monster...
Just when you thought you were safe, the red tape monster rises again... how/why do these things just keep happening to you, my poor dear? You must have that person-that-helped-you-before's number on speed dial by now. Use it. Otherwise, I don't know what else to say, other than, "Good Luck!"
2 people like this
• United States
9 Oct 07
Cool picture. LOL.
@BarBaraPrz (16324)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
9 Oct 07
I thought so. If you read the book you'll find out that it is actually a red tapeworm... And lovely Bronwyn is only 12 (she's a giant).
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Mmmm...just lucky I guess...NOT..LOL..Yes I could ask that woman again connected with that Congressman..she must be so fed up with hearing from me..heehee
1 person likes this
@morgandrake (2144)
• United States
9 Oct 07
This sounds like a discussion that I would have in microeconomics. Can't help you with the legal end. I know a lot about price ceilings and can draw you a pretty graph, but that is completely useless for your needs. On my end, I must admit that I know that it is hard to get someone name off the lease. I lived in the same apartment for several years, part of the time with a roommate. He was on the lease for awhile, basically to ensure that he actually paid his half of the rent. After he left, the landlords (a leasing company) knew he was gone, and when the lease was renewed it was solely in my name. Surprisely, when they sold the building and tossed everyone out, my eviction notice was in both mine and his name (they were a little upset because I chose to pay the rent at my new apartment and didn't give them the last month's rent on their lease). So he has an eviction on his record for a apartment that he left three years before. Sending sympathy your way--good luck.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
10 Oct 07
Oh, gee how NICE of your landlord to sell the building then to toss everyone out like that My life sure isn't boring though is it?? LOL
@Grandmaof2 (7604)
• Canada
9 Oct 07
Sounds sticky as toffee, please keep us informed. I have no experience with this sort of thing but interesting to see how it all goes. I'd think that in your best defense you may be alright with the whole issue taking in the fact that you are on disability. After all they can't take something you don't have. Take care and good luck.
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Your position does sound a bit precarious, pyewacket, but, assuming your landlord has an ounce of integrity, he should have no problem with putting the lease in your name. After all, he has been accepting payment for rent from you for over a year now. I know that you are a person who keeps good records, so if he balks at doing this you might have to point out to him that you have cancelled checks or receipts as proof that the rent was paid by you all this time. I try to maintain a tiny bit of faith in mankind and hopefully he will not give you any hassles. Good luck!
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
10 Oct 07
My landlord have integrity?? LOL...Uh..nope..that's why I'm trying to figure the best way to handle this--My rent is probably the lowest in the building since I'm the only rent-controlled apartment...he could probably get nearly double rent should he kick me out
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
9 Oct 07
If you gave the landlord, money orders, you should have kept the receipts. The trouble is that your mother did the wrong thing in writing the money orders and signing him with your grandmother's name. What you have to show that you are who you say you are and not your grandmother (I gather you and her share the same first name) You should approach legal aid and you should talk to your landlord. If he knows that you are disabled and knows that you have always have lived in the apartment, he will not raise your rent. You should also contact the housing authority and any organization that helps the disabled in your city. I am afraid that you put yourself in a pickle and the more help you get, the better it will be for you.
@kiobug (2250)
• United States
9 Oct 07
My advice is to either just leave it alone and hope he doesnt raise it or approach him and hope he is understanding. Hope it works out.
1 person likes this
@irishmist (3843)
• United States
10 Oct 07
Gee Pyewacket. This one I have no answer for you. But I feel for you, and my heart goes out to you. After all you have been through and all. I hope someone can help you with this. I will hope and pray for you though. If that helps any...