Working with Landlords and Other Parties Trying to Comply with Local Rules

All landowners—whether landlords, homeowners, or investment property owners—are subject to the regulations of their local housing administrations. This can lead to owner disputes with preservation and development departments, zoning boards, and local code enforcement officers. Let Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine help you resolve these disputes quickly, with minimal cost and inconvenience. Our skilled attorneys have decades of experience in working with the local housing administrations of towns, villages, cities, and counties throughout New York City and Long Island. They are intimately familiar with the particular regulations of each area. Our attorneys will help you create a proactive strategy to avoid compliance issues with local housing authorities. If problems occur, we will do everything possible to resolve the matter as favorably to you as possible. Our effective services will get you back to the business of being a landowner.

Housing Preservation and Development Matters

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development is tasked with promoting the construction, preservation, and quality of affordable housing for area residents of low and moderate incomes. It also offers landlord services, such as loans and tax incentives for property rehabilitation projects (in exchange for which landlords must limit rent increases for tenants of the property).

Of greater importance for landlords is the tenant complaint system administered by the Department. Tenants can report housing code and safety violations to the Department, which sends an inspector to the property. The inspector has authority to issue written violations. These citations can later result in housing court litigation. The Department also manages tenant complaints of harassment. While many of these harassment complaints center on the rules for making a buyout offer to a rent-regulated tenant, tenants have other rights under New York State law that can result in a complaint to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (or other government housing administration). Most notably: Tenants have the right to create groups for the protection of tenants’ rights. Landlords are strictly prohibited from retaliating against tenants for forming or participating in such groups. Retaliation can consist of overt harassment, or simple withholding of rights or services to which the tenant would otherwise be entitled.

Landlords must take seriously any complaint from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The cost of ignoring a complaint can quickly surpass a simple fine. Housing court costs, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and other charges add up quickly without the proper remedy of a complaint. An experienced attorney can help you remedy the problem or defend false allegations to resolve a complaint before it has a chance to incur costs and other unpleasant consequences. Mitigate the damage by resolving disputes early.

Village, County or Town Ordinance Violations

Throughout New York City and Long Island, municipal ordinances abound to regulate local real estate markets and building infrastructure. Most landowners are not even aware of every local regulation that applies to them—there are simply too many. Landowners are subject to federal law, state law, county regulations, and municipal ordinances. An ordinance may require “uniform appearance” or “aesthetically pleasing details,” or prevent “poor quality design.” The enforcement of such an ordinance would be completely dependent on the design preferences of the person in a position to enforce it. This subjectivity causes disputes between landowners and local housing authorities.

The good news for landowners is that subjectivity and vagueness in a statute give an attorney more room to argue the issues in dispute. Attorneys can effectively negotiate with:

  • Building departments
  • Building inspectors
  • Building superintendents
  • Building design boards
  • Architectural design review boards and committees
  • Zoning committees
  • Zoning appeals boards
  • Preliminary site review boards and inspectors
  • Plumbing boards
  • Electrical boards
  • Historical and preservation committees
  • Local housing authorities
  • Plans examiners
  • Environmental Control Board(s)

Because aesthetics are so subjective, landowners should not consider a housing committee’s initial rejection to be final. By clearly identifying the committee’s objections and landowner’s goals, a skilled negotiator can craft creative solutions to meet the needs of both sides.

Effective Dispute Resolution

Like any government entity, local housing administrations or Environmental Control Boards can be difficult to appease. With a skilled negotiator in your corner, however, you will save time and money in the resolution process. The experienced law firm of Ezratty, Ezratty and Levine know what housing authorities and zoning boards look for—and how to balance their needs with those of the landowner. We offer fast, cost-effective methods of resolving disputes with local housing administrations, and we make sure that your voice is heard in the process. Contact our office today