Thursday, November 20, 2008

Illegal Accessory Apartments Hurt Tenants, Too

Unscrupulous Landlords Prey Upon Those With Limited Resources And No Rights


I live in Dobbs Ferry in an illegal apartment. Beacause of my lack of rights as a tenant renting in an illegal apartment, I am forced to move. I live in the basement with extremely loud and inconsiderate people upstairs. For the first two years I tried to make it work, pretending I was really living at home and those were my brothers making all the noise upstairs. Right!! We were raised properly and had manners. I tried talking to them , writing notes and banging on the ceiling.

Well, the truth of it is the couple upstairs are 60+ Italian immigrants whose brother in-law owns the house but does not live here. In the beginning I was told I could use the garage for storage. That changed when he decided to use his garage to store his mason materials and diesel truck. He then cut down the tree in the back yard, and turned it into a parking lot for his hispanic assistant masons and their vehicles to park!!! So now I get to hear a diesal truck, electric garage door opening and two cars ten feet from my head start every morning at 7 AM seven days a week. The lazy fat man upstairs decided he was too above parking on the street and began parking on the grass like trailer park trash. I complained to the landlord. He replanted seed and put up a temporary fence which they had to nerve to take down!!

Now there is the issue of the fat retired wife lacking any hobbies whatsoever except to hang her wet dripping laundry over my entrance door every day over 40 degrees. She also takes in laundry. Why should I have to look at other peoples' underwear and girdles?? Disgusting. If this were in an apartment building, this would never be allowed. I complained to the town of Dobbs Ferry about violating the law of parking too close to a building and to my entrance door. Nothing was done.

Next there is the issue of no carpeting except the ones I gave them. What about the law in NY demanding 80% of your floors to be covered? Not in this case. Besides them walking like elephants every morning at 5 AM, I have to listen to the grandchildren running back and forth non stop for up to six hours several times a week. Of course, they have to leave on their shoes. When they are alsleep or gone, then I have to listen to the loud tv from 8 PM til after 10 over my bedroom. Did I mention he wears a hearing aid- but obviously not always!! All I ask is that I have one room in my apartment where they are quiet above my head.

I cannot enforce any of my rights as a tenant since this is an illegal apartment. This jerk upstairs even threatned to harm me twice if I were to complain again about their noise. I made two police reports. Better yet, I went on the Mike and Juliet Morning Show on a segmant called "Nasty Neighbors."

Of all the people responding to their post about who had nasty neighbors in the tri state area, I was chosen to have the worst. I have a recording of him threatening to punch me in the face. Apparently, the garbage men did not stand up the cans after emptying them like they do twice a week all over the United States. He decided it was my fault for some psychotic reason.

I complained recently to my landlord about them being loud before 9 AM only over my bedroom, again, which was always my main request. He came over and yelled at me for calling his house to complain. He then told me I have to leave the hallway light off unless I am in it. Another violation?? During the same visit, he also yelled at me for having my lights on in my apartment when I am home!! Definitely inbreds!!

So, am I for or against illegal apartments?? Guess!! As tenants, we have no rights whatsoever. I was never informed this apartment was not legal.

I am now moving to a legal apartment building where I do have rights. I would love to report the landlord so no one ever has to go through this. Moving is a costly expense. Feel free to post this wherever you like.

Name Withheld Upon Request
Dobbs Ferry, New York
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What is the impact of illegal accessory apartments where you live? Do your neighbors -- or you -- have tenants living in your basement? Are you a tenant in an illegal apartment, at the mercy of a landlord who just doesn't care about anything other than that rent check? What, if anything, is your town or village doing to curb or eradicate illegal rental apartments in single-family homes?

The Community Alliance would like to hear from you. E-mail us at


  1. Landlord-tenant and tenant-tenant problems happen in plenty of legal apartments as well.

    There wouldn't be so many illegal apartments if local zoning boards realized that this isn't the 1950s, and there's a lot of demand for housing other than single-family homes in the suburbs.

    There is no law about having a percentage of your floor carpeted. Some co-ops, condos, and rental buildings have a rule, but it's not a law.

  2. There is a law in Dobbs Ferry about carpeting your apartment in buildings with four legal apartments or more