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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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I dont think I was specific enough with my question...I live

Customer Question

I dont think I was specific enough with my question...I live in a rent controlled apartment in New York City, my mother has lived in the apartment for over 60 years, we have no lease and are statutory tenants. The landlord wants us to remove our washing machine...do we have to do it eventhough we don't have a lease and are statutory tenants?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello there --

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Is it the current policy of the building owner that none of the tenants can have washing machines in their units?

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MARY

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
the landlord does not want washing machines in the building, but he has been charging me a surcharge of $22 for almost ten years for having the washing machine
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
can he make us remove it now? we have no lease so we never have an agreement where I agreed not to have a washing machine. I live in New York City
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello there --

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Unfortunately, in such a situation, it is the landlord's right to ban washing machines from the buildings they own, even if rent controlled and without a lease. So long as the policy is clear and it is the same policy across the board that applies to all tenants, the landlord has the right to make such a universal rule. Perhaps the water bill is getting very high on the landlord -- but for whatever reason, he has the right to do it. The fact that you do not have a lease does not help because legally you are considered a tenant at will and your tenancy is in 30 day increments and so you are subject to the general tenancy rules whenever the landlord changes them or decides he wants to enforce them. I wish I could tell you something differently here, but I cannot. It is very common for LL's to ban washing machines because of high water rates and the fact that they can install their own machines in the basement and make additional money if that is what they wish to do. The only way you could fight this is if you can show that the Landlord is not requiring everyone to remove their washing machines and that he has singled you out for some reason.

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-I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating above so I will be paid for my time. I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating above in the rating section. Please keep in mind that an accurate and truthful legal answer may not always be what you want to hear but I am obligated to deliver the truth to you in my answer. THANK YOU

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
HI, are you from New York? We are not at will tenants. In New York, we are rent controlled, not rent stabilized, meaning we are statutory tenants. No lease is necessary. Isn't the lease what binds a tenant to these restrictions?
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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I am not in NY currently but I practiced there from 1999 to 2008 - almost exclusively in real estate law and am very familiar with rent controlled units and how they work. Whether you are rent controlled or not, if the LL issues reasonable rules that are common for tenants in the area, then the rent controlled tenants are also required to follow them. If you had a lease which stated, in writing, that you are permitted to have the washing machine then you would be all set. However, without a specific agreement otherwise with the LL, you are required to follow all reasonable rules of his tenancy.

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MARY

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As I said, I wish I could tell you otherwise

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Even if he has been charging me the surcharge for 10 years? If i do not remove it, what can he do? My mother is a statutory tenant and has been living in the apartment for over 60 years.
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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He can go to the housing court and the housing court will give you a choice or either removing it or leaving the unit. And if you think that the LL might be trying to get his hands on the unit to get you out, you are probably correct, While it may be a hardship for you and your mother, you are better off following as many of the rules as you can so that there are no issues or problems. And, even though the landlord permitted it for a long time, he still has the right to create a rule and enforce it so long as it is reasonable and applies to everyone across the board (if he has any market rate units in the building and he permits them to have washing machines then you may have a cause for saying that he is discriminating against you / your mother due to the rent controlled rate that you are paying).

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MARY

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
HI Mary, he has installed a washing machine area in the building that I think he wants people to start using. Doesn't he have to show the washing machine is a nuisance since I never agreed not to have one?
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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Installing the washing machines is his right as a landlord and restricting tenants from having them is also his right. This is one area that the courts do not budge on -- because of the high cost of water and sewerage (especially in a place like NYC). You cant agree not to have a washing machine -- it doesnt work that way. Even if he let everyone have a washing machine for the past 30 years, so long as he gives you enough notice (30 days is considered legally sufficient) he has the right to change the rules and expect that his tenants will comply so long as the rules are legally reasonable. There have actually been battles over dishwashers and washing machines between LLs and tenants and the courts generally rule that dishwashers are a necessity but washing machines are not (because your laundry is portable and can be washed outside of your unit).

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MARY

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi Mary, are there cases of rent control (not rent stabilized) tenants without leases wanting to keep appliances like washing machines?
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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Yes, but they are not reported in case law books because they all happen at the local housing courts (they are not reported publicly but you can access them at the court). You can certainly check in with them to research their archives for this issue. MARY

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hello, sorry for all the questions...are there any other demands he can make on me as a rent controlled tenant with no lease. Again, we are not at will or month to month tenants. Is there any way I could still insist on keeping it? He gave us two weeks and then said he would inspect the apartment to see if its gone
Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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He can make any reasonable rules that he wants. I really can't get specific because I do not know your living situation. But, for example, if you have a balcony and a barbecue on the balcony and he decides that any such barbecues are a fire hazard, he has the right to ban them from the units. If he makes a rule that seems crazy -- like stating he can come in at any time without notice -- then that is not reasonable and not legal. So, it really is a rule by rule assessment. As I said earlier -- unless you can show that he has let other tenants keep washing machines even though he is making you get rid of yours, then you may have an argument against him. But, other than that, I really cant think of any legal reason you can use to be able to keep it against the LL rules.

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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I would appreciate it if you would press a positive rating above in the rating section so that I will be given credit for the time that I spent with you answering your questions. I am not given any credit unless you press the middle star or the fourth or fifth star on the right of the middle star above.

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MARY

Expert:  Legalease replied 5 months ago.

Hello again --

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