Sunday, July 10, 2016

Unsuspecting Renters In Illegal Boarding House Expecting To Have 30 Days To Vacate Instead Get 48 Hours To Take A Hike Or Get Pinched On Trespassing Charges; City's Attorney: This Involves Illegal Occupancy, Landlord-Tenant Rules Don't Apply When Giving Residents The Boot

In Kingston, New York, the Daily Freeman reports:
  • The tenants of a West Chestnut Street home that’s been declared an illegal boarding house were given a little extra time [] to vacate the premises, though some said they deserved a full month to pack up and leave.

    The city’s attorney, Corporation Counsel Kevin Bryant, said [] that Mayor Steve Noble wanted to be sensitive to the tenants and handle the situation in the most considerate way possible. He said the tenants were being given a bit more time than originally planned to clear out and that none would be ticketed Tuesday for trespassing. The city will, however, follow up on Wednesday, Bryant said.

    State Supreme Court Justice Henry Zwack sided with the city Zoning Board of Appeals in ruling the building at 106 W. Chestnut St. could not be used as a boarding house. The city, in turn, served the tenants on Monday with notices that said they had to be out by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Later in the day, though, a sergeant with the Kingston Police Department went to the house and told the remaining tenants they had until 4 p.m. to leave or face trespassing charges.

    The zoning board last December upheld a decision by the city Building Safety Division that the boarding house used was not allowed. Tri-Serendipity LLC, which owns the property, then sued the city, leading to Zwack’s ruling.

    Tri-Serendipity principal Joseph Sangi was ticketed Tuesday afternoon for failing to comply with the order to cease operating the boarding house, Bryant said.

    Some tenants expressed concern Tuesday about not being given more time to vacate the home. They questioned why, as tenants, they were not given 30 days’ notice before being evicted.

    Bryant said the 30-day rule doesn’t apply because “this isn’t a landlord-tenant issue. This is illegal occupancy.”
    Sangi said [] that the house has been operated as a boarding facility for more than 60 years. And though the general public thinks the house is in deplorable condition, everything is “beyond up to code,” he said.

    Sangi, who plans to appeal Zwack’s ruling, said his problems with the city began when he was denied an operating permit for the house, followed by Kingston withholding its safety reports about the property despite finding no violations. He said the city then denied him the ability to get a variance or a special-use permit to operate the boarding house and denied him a building permit to complete renovations.

    The property was a boarding house in 1963 and should be grandfathered in under the city’s zoning code, Sangi said.

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