May 2021 3 56 Report
new york Queens tanent and landlord dispute?

I am a single women from China, currently I live in Queens New York city.

Before, I didn't know many laws in United States.

I moved into this attic last year. I was given the key after I signed the lease and paid the deposit in cash. I was told this 3rd floor apartment is legal. But they didn't give me the receipt and the copy of that lease.

I was in a hurry to move in and though they will give it to me later.

At that time I have pets so it's not easy to find a place, so I endured a lot, including bed bugs which landlord refused to help me get rid of it.

They raised the rent 3 times during this year. And in Oct, I decided to stop paying the rent, for 3 reasons.

1, they didn't tell me the truth. I find out this one family house include one basement apartment and one attic apartment , total of three apartments are all illegal converted. And by Queens county laws, landlord can not collect rent if it is illegal.

2, They don't provide enough heat in winter. They only provide heat while they are at home.

3, They only take cash payments and never gave me a receipt. I told them I will pay as long as they give me the receipt for the past 11 month.

It's been three month, they just didn't contact me. The last time we talked, they just said they need time to think about it.

On last Sat, they brought some rude women and keep knocking on my door, and try to force me to open the door, they threat me that I have to open the door and show the broke the attic because they are selling the house. I refused and they keep knocking and yelling until I said " I am gonna call 911". Then they stopped.

Then landlord threat me by telling me she will cutoff my power and heat and water that I will freeze to death.

I said " if you give me those receipts, I will pay rent."

She said " No, you can use those receipt to sue IRS, because I didn't pay tax. So I know it's your right, but I am not going to give you any receipt. But you have to pay me cash for rental or else I will continue the harassment , I will keep yelling, knocking on your door until you lose your job.I will cutoff your heat and water if you don't give me cash."

I work full time at home, so my job can not be disturbed, or else she gonna make me lose my job.

Do I have any options?

Her husband is nice to me, but he is playing the good cop and bad cop thing. He said " My wife is citizen and you are green card, my wife know someone that you don't know what they will do to you. I think it's better we can settle it privately, if we take this to court. You will lose because this is our house, you are tenant ,you don't have right. The court will send police to throw you out."

So beside settle private with them or quietly move away. I don't have any other options?

I called 311, they check and told me this following:

at the bottom of that page, it says:


Rent: A landlord cannot collect rent from any tenants where a one-family dwelling has been illegally converted into a building with three or more dwelling units. In such case, neither the tenants in the illegal units nor the tenants in the legal units must pay rent, and the landlord cannot bring a non-payment proceeding in Housing Court. However, if the landlord has a legal three-family dwelling with a valid registration statement on file and adds an illegal apartment, the landlord may seek action for non-payment, but only against the tenants in the legal dwelling units.

Eviction: If a landlord has a legal three-family dwelling with a valid registration statement on file, the landlord can seek action in Housing Court to evict the tenants. Most illegal conversions are in one-family and two-family dwellings, and owners of these dwellings do not have the right to seek eviction.

Please help me, thank you so so much.

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