New Landlord's Ignorance of Occupancy Violation No Defense
LVT Number: #20950
DOB issued violation notices to landlord for illegally altering a building to add more than the legally approved number of apartments. The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) legally approved a two-family house, with the first floor to be occupied as a recreation room, laundry, accessory storage, and one-car garage. The second and third floors were listed on the C of O as apartments. The first floor had been converted to an apartment. Landlord claimed that she didn't know that the first-floor apartment was illegal when she bought the building. She also had started an eviction proceeding against the first-floor tenant but was unable to remove him by the time the violations were issued. The ALJ ruled for landlord and dismissed the violations. DOB appealed and won. Landlord's lack of knowledge that the apartment was illegal wasn't a defense. Landlord is responsible at all times for the safe maintenance of the building and its facilities and is responsible for any violations. Starting the eviction proceeding before the violations were issued also was no defense and didn't stop the per-day penalties that accrued. ECB fined landlord $7,425.
Thaler: ECB App. Nos. 47313-47314 (11/17/08) [3-pg. doc.]
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