Justice Zoned: Finding a stable space to call home

Our client panicked when his landlord told him to vacate immediately.

The tenant was living in a four-unit apartment building, although it was only zoned for three. Our client, who had lived in the unit for five years, knew about the zoning problem. The landlord assured him that their appeal to the Zoning Board would all work out.

A week before the tenant was to renew his lease for another year, the landlord lost their latest appeal and failed to tell our client. The tenant remained in his apartment for a few months before he received the phone call instructing him to move out. The landlord claimed that the Office of Licenses and Inspections directed him to remove the tenant’s kitchen and bathroom immediately, so as to make the apartment uninhabitable.

The landlord offered to place the tenant in an apartment in another building, but the rent was $225 more a month. After we advised him of his rights, the tenant asked for our help in negotiating with the landlord. We asked the landlord to refund his entire October rent, immediately return his security deposit, and provide $500 for moving expenses.

With $1,800 in hand the day he moved out, he is looking for a new apartment to settle into.