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eviction threats and witholding of rent for failure to make repairs

Posted by Laura Moran on January 22, 2000 at 12:11:33:

Please help-

One night, we came home in the evening and the (one and only) lock on our apartment broke so we couldn't use the key to get in. We couldn't reach the landlord (his office had gone home) so the building staff tried to help us for a while but eventually they called their regular locksmith to replace the lock as it was unrepairable and I paid the locksmith in cash. The landlord refused to reimburse the repair and after several months of asking (in writing), I just deducted the amount from my rent. I spoke to him once on the phone but he was verbally abusive so I have only written since them.

The landlord has sent back the rent check as it included the deduction for the expense, and has threatened to evict us - he has sent over a half dozen memo's to us (called three day notice) and has recently threatened that his lawyers have told him that we will have to pay his legal fees, late payment fees, and potentially be evicted.

I sent him back the rent check and asked hi m to put it in escrow, which he also refused, so I have opened a separate savings account for him (although he refused to give me a SSN or EIN so I had to open it in my name). I am now very concerned that he will be charging us all sort of fees and when we move at the end of the lease that he'll hold our deposits, etc.

We are in Manhattan, not rent stabalized or controlled, live in a hi-rise building with over 200 units built in the 80's, I don't know if its a condo, I do know its not a coop. We have a written lease.

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