2004-10-14 / Other News

Seddio Reveals Bill Would Create Special Second Housing Court

By Nicole G. Ray

Assemblyman Frank Seddio speaking before the meeting of the Friends United Block Association last week. He said, according to l;egislation introduced last year, there could be a second court to decide housing/tenant disputes.                                  Nicole Ray
Assemblyman Frank Seddio speaking before the meeting of the Friends United Block Association last week. He said, according to l;egislation introduced last year, there could be a second court to decide housing/tenant disputes. Nicole Ray In answer to a rash of appeals from residents who had received summonses from the city for alleged illegal apartments, State Assemblyman Frank Seddio last week announced there is a bill, which was introduced last year, that would create a special court — separate from the city’s landlord/tenant court — for some homeowners. Seddio made the announcement at the monthly Friends United Block Asso-ciation (FUBA) meeting on Thursday, October 7 at Temple Shaare Emeth on Farragut Road.

According to Seddio, the bill’s contents, which can be viewed on the Assembly’s website, state that a private homeowner with a one- or two-family home must bring action against a tenant in the city landlord/tenant court. However, this court is already overburdened with a high number of caseloads, as the homeowner landlord cases are included with the multiple dwelling landlord cases throughout the city.

“Going to court allows a non-paying tenant further time to remain in the home and most one- and two- family homeowners rely on rent as a subsidy for payment of their mortgages,” Seddio said. “By forming a separate court, cases would be handled more expeditiously, which translates into less financial constraint being placed on the landlord,” he added.

FUBA president Gardy Brazela said he requested Seddio’s presence at the packed meeting to answer questions that Canarsie residents had concerning the rash of summonses for illegal apartments they had received.

Last month, Assemblyman Nick Perry held a meeting in East Flatbush following complaints from consti-tuents who received fines for the illegal apartment offenses, which range from $800 to $2,500.

Kenneth S. Lazar, Inter-Government and Community Affairs Liaison for the Brooklyn Department of Buildings, who attended Perry’s meeting and said at the time that an illegal conversion is the creation of housing unit(s) which do not have the city’s approval and appropriate permits.

“It’s your house; you can do what you want,” Brazela said. “However, you have to follow certain rules and regulations.”

Seddio added that landlords should obtain background information on their tenants by having them fill out an application and by running credit checks. “If someone is a proposed tenant and they don’t want to fill it out, it should be a warning sign,” he added.” If someone has moved five to six times in the past five year, it is also a warning.”

“I call them professional tenants,” Seddio said.

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