Illegal or Not, the Rent May Be Due

By Brian Lafferty

We’re always amazed that, with such documented risks, landlords continue to rent illegal apartments. Some are basement spaces, others are rooms without proper windows or ventilations, without proper bathrooms or kitchen facilities.

A building’s Certificate of Occupancy shows everything you need to know about how a building can be used. It will say if apartments can be in the basement, and if a certain number of apartments are permitted on a given floor.

Naturally, disputes occur in cases of illegal apartments, and the law can be a bit tricky. A building may be in violation of its C of O, but this does not automatically exempt every unit from its financial obligations.

Landlords also may have the opportunity to fix violations by converting an illegal apartment into a legal one. If an apartment were fixed, the landlord could collect rent.

There are many other instances, such as if a tenant did something to make the apartment illegal, or if the tenant knew the apartment was illegal. There are more nuances, which may be found here.

While the cases may be confusing, there’s one guaranteed way to avoid any issues — rent compliant apartments.