Queens, NY asked in Landlord - Tenant and Criminal Law for New York

Q: Is getting a tenant to sign something acknowledging that their residence not a legal unit a good idea?

I am currently an owner of a 2-family home in Brooklyn. I currently rent out the units, as well as rent to a tenant in the cellar. The cellar is not a legal unit. Having read some literature, I am aware that if a fire were to occur, I could be held criminally liable if the cellar tenant were to not escape a fire. The tenant is aware that the basement is not legal. I am interested in learning what preventative steps I could take to avoid criminal prosecution in a worst-case scenario. Is getting the tenant to sign something a good tool? How would I best prepare for this in the future in case I am charged? Is putting other real estate I have in an LLC a good idea?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter Wade Kolp
Peter Wade Kolp
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Hire an attorney as there may be multiple considerations civilly and criminally.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.