JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: New York City Housing Records #general

Peter Zavon <pzavon@...>

Leases are and were contracts drawn between the building owner and the
person seeking to occupy space in the building. Records of any given lease
would have been kept in the business office of the building owner and/or his
attorney. It seems most unlikely to me that any central repository would
have been created.

If there was some legal dispute about a lease, there would, no doubt, be
records in the archives of the court that heard the dispute, but that would
be a small fraction of the total number of leases entered into in a given

And I suspect that many, perhaps most (?), apartment rentals would have been
tenant-at-will arrangements. In these situations, there may have been no
written document at all. The tenant paid the agreed-upon rent (usually in
cash) each week or each month and could leave, or be evicted, at the any

If you know that someone was renting >from a large institution, perhaps that
institution has kept records, but with the high cost of space in NYC during
the late 20th century and the lack of business value in decades old
residential lease documents, I suspect that would be an uncommon situation.
By a "large institution", I mean something like the Catholic Diocese of New
York. My maternal grandfather rented his tailor shop and apartment >from the
Catholic Diocese in a building on Fulton Street in Brooklyn beginning before
WWI. Perhaps the Diocese business office has records of this, but I doubt
it. He eventually bought the building >from them and rented out the 3
apartments, living behind the shop when his marriage broke up. I *know* there
are no records of those rentals as my paternal grandfather eventually bought
the building >from my maternal grandfather, and my father and uncle inherited
it. They sold it outside the family in the 1970's.

Peter Zavon
Penfield, NY

"Gary Gershfield" <> wrote:

I am trying to find out if old records exist for NYC leases and people
renting apartments.In other words,if I know the address of a relative,are
there records like this that could lead to additional information.

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