Fire in illegal unit raises safety concerns

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Question: Please let me know what tenant-landlord regulations apply to renting an illegal rental unit that is part of the two-family home we lease. We live in a rental unit on the lower floor, while a single mother and her child live in the upper flat. The 37-year-old unemployed son of our landlords lived in this bootleg rental unit off the garage rent-free, even using the utilities connected to our flat. Last month, he accidentally set the place on fire and the police discovered drug paraphernalia in the son's room while the firemen were here. A neighbor that is a law school student told us that we had the right to file a civil suit citing endangerment if the son was not gone within 30 days. The father apologized and arranged for him to be gone in 24 hours. Now they're cleaning, painting and repairing the small room. We -- and our upstairs neighbor -- were hoping to finally use the backyard undisturbed. There is no street number, no mailbox or any indication that a third apartment exi...