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barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 38247
Experience:  Attorney over 17 years, landlord 26 years
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I Have house I rent that has a illegal basement apartment.

Customer Question

I Have house I rent that has a illegal basement apartment. I would like the tenant to
leave.Tenant has known the apartment is illegal. Tenant has lived there for years and said I will sue you and get back all the rent money I ever paid.Could tenant win? Has this ever happened in suffolk county before?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
I can't comment on whether something like this has every happened in the entire history or Suffolk County as that could involve tens of thousands of cases over the history of Suffolk County.
What I can tell you is that if the tenant knows that the apartment is illegal and they have chosen to stay and continue to live there once they became aware of this, no judge is going to award them their rent back because they are coming to court with "unclean hands" and trying to enrich themselves by getting a refund so they could essentially have lived there and had use of the property for free..
Judges don't do that. It would be different if they discovered it was illegal and moved out a month later and then sued as they would have taken action within a reasonable time after discovering the breach of contract. But a judge would tell them that after years of living there with the knowledge it was illegal, they accepted the property in its present condition and were the source of their own "injury" once they stayed there over a month or two after learning it was illegal.
As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...