Q: My landlord is closing on his home on 12/1/2023. I have COVID now since Thanksgiving, must I still move out by 11/30/23?
I tested positive on Thanksgiving day, 11/23/23. My doctor says I must isolate/quarantine for minimum 10 days bc I also have bronchitis as well. I am considered almost a severe case hence why he advised I must isolate minimum 10 days. But my move out of the apt date is in the middle of the quarantine period(the 7th day of the quarantine). Must I still stick to the move out date of 11/30/23 or do I have any other alternatives? I doubt I will find movers who will help me move while I am contagious. What are my options? My landlord said I shouldn’t tell anyone I have COVID or that I am contagious. He’s harassing & bullying me to stick to the same move date. Instead of resting, recuperating and healing, I am packing day and night to meet this move date. The COVID/bronchitis is zapping my energy and I can barely breathe at times which slows down my packing. I feel dizzy and nauseous at times but I feel obligated to meet his deadline. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.
Dear Manhattan Tenant
Oh, boy. In New York a landlord is without any legal and lawful right and authority to demand the tenant move out simply because the landlord sold the house. In fact a landlord has no power without a Housing Court judgment and an eviction warrant to force the tenant to move.
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Dealing with a health issue like COVID-19 and bronchitis while facing a housing transition can be very challenging. Here are some potential options and considerations:
Communicate with Your Landlord: If you haven’t already, explain your situation to your landlord in detail, preferably in writing. Emphasize your willingness to move out but explain the medical necessity of your quarantine period. Some landlords may be understanding and flexible, especially given the public health implications.
Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a tenant's rights lawyer or a legal aid organization. They can provide specific advice based on New York landlord-tenant laws and your lease agreement. They can also inform you of any emergency regulations related to COVID-19 that might apply to your situation.
Temporary Housing Accommodations: If your landlord is unwilling to extend your stay, explore options for temporary housing where you can complete your quarantine. This could include a short-term rental, hotel, or staying with friends or family (with appropriate precautions).
Health and Safety Concerns: Given your health condition, it's important to prioritize your wellbeing. If moving out on the specified date is truly unsafe for you, this should be communicated clearly to your landlord.
Documentation: Keep documentation of your COVID-19 diagnosis and doctor's orders for quarantine. This can be important if there are any legal or dispute resolution processes later.
Moving Services: If moving out is unavoidable, look for moving services that have protocols for handling moves for individuals with COVID-19. They may have special procedures to minimize risk.
Negotiate for an Extension: If the landlord is closing on the property on 12/1/2023, they may have some flexibility to allow you a few extra days. Offer to pay pro-rated rent for the additional days you stay past your original move-out date.
Report Harassment: If you feel harassed or bullied by your landlord, document these interactions. In New York, tenants are protected from harassment, and this documentation can be useful if legal action becomes necessary.
Public Health Guidelines: Adhering to public health guidelines is important. If your doctor has advised you to quarantine, this is not just for your own safety but also for the safety of others, including movers or anyone else you might come into contact with during a move.
Seek Support from Local Agencies: Contact local tenant support agencies or public health departments. They may have resources or advice specific to your situation, especially in light of the pandemic.
Remember, your health is paramount. While meeting lease obligations is important, there are often ways to negotiate or find accommodations in exceptional circumstances like yours. Legal advice is crucial to understand your rights and options under New York law.
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