Ask the Hoboken Legal Beagle – 3/18/2008

3/18/2008:

[note: If you want your questions answered, send email to Hoboken411@gmail.com (you MUST put this in the subject, or it’ll be ignored: “Hoboken411 Legal Question“), and each week I’ll pick one (or maybe two – depending on the simplicity) question(s) that will be responded to by Hoboken411’s legal mastermind.]

Here’s the first week of Q&A!

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Question #1:

Are the tenants/victims from the 1203 Washington St/60-12th St Fire last month entitled to their old apts when they are fixed & deemed livable again or are they being forced to accept other apts supplied to them by applied housing?

411 Legal Beagle says: “The law says that tenants are entitled to go back to their repaired apartment, but by agreement they can go to another apartment. They are fortunate to have a landlord that has other units they could live in if the repair of their unit is delayed. You are not going to find a better landlord in Hoboken than Applied Housing. They are known to respond promptly to tenant dislocations. However, I have no idea whether or not tenants are being “forced to accept another apartment” at 1203 Washington.”

Injuries by fire to buildings on leased premises; repair by landlord :
Whenever any building or buildings erected on leased premises shall be injured by fire, without the fault of the lessee, the landlord shall repair the same as speedily as possible. In default of such repair the rent shall cease until such time as the building or buildings shall be put in complete repair. This section shall not extend or apply to cases wherein the parties have otherwise stipulated in their agreement of lease. 46:8-6.

Also, check out this link Relocation Assistance.

Question #2:

“I got an open container violation in early December. I pleaded guilty via mail and sent the payment within the week that it was due. It is now the middle of March and I have not heard of anything from the court system (no correspondence sent to my house either confirming or denying anything). My check has still not been cashed. I have repeatedly tried to call the Manhattan Criminal Court to check on the status of the summons and everytime I get someone different and wind up transferred 5 times with no assiatance. They tell me they have nothing on file under my name!!

What is up?? How do I find out what the deal is? If my guilty plea never made it, what is the worst that could happen?”

411 Legal Beagle says: “Welcome to the most inefficient, bloated, unresponsive, inept and extortionistic bureaucracy in America; Traffic Court in every city. Their computers are old, their consumer relation management skills are nonexistent. Unanswered phones, misplaced checks, blank stares are common occurrences. It is in these little niches of government that you see the result of corruption, the millions made from ticketing justifies allows the government to raise revenue without raising taxes.

Here’s my basic advice, send certified letters or UPS overnight with confirmed delivery setting forth your situation, keep a copy of your letter, and the proof of mailing. After one or two return receipt demands you should get some response. The worst that can happen is that you are hit with increased fines, and if that happens you will have to go to court to get them reduced, a royal pain in the butt. Going to Court for an opened container is quite a horrible thing to do when you find yourself at 9am in the morning with 100 other people trying to get their day in court.

The good news is that the system is so screwed up that most likely they will eventually process your ticket and it will all simply disappear into the ether. The lesson to learn is do not send anything regular mail. When dealing with the Court you must be able to show proof of service; a certified letter in hand is better than a hundred wasted calls to the the court.”

Send your questions in for next week’s Q&A session!

And remember, these answers are coming from a flying beagle, and should not be used as in place of competent advise from a human attorney. This feature is intended to give you legal information, not legal advice and is for general guidance only. Use at your own risk, and it’s recommended that you retain counsel on your own. Hoboken 411 is not liable for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of the site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site. In short, your use of the site is at your own risk.

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