Posted by JJ on February 21, 2000 at 15:45:00:
In Reply to: Sue or wait to be evicted? posted by Joe on February 20, 2000 at 22:39:10:
: I live in a rent stabilized apartment in Manhattan. I have mice, roaches, no heat in two roooms, toilet doesn't flush, sink is broken, bathroom ceiling is in very bad shape and many other problems. I notified landlord in certified letter last July. After no reply, I stopped paying rent last August. He hasn't asked for a penny yet. QUESTION: Do I sue him to get repairs and ask for rent reductions or should I wait for him to start eviction notice and then go to court with my defense. I have read this site extensively and still don't know which is best. Given "stale rent" law, would it be easier to get repairs and get to keep the back rent (since I have not lived in an habitable apartment) by waiting for eviction?
What "stale rent" LAW??? I read that too: my LL waited almost a year to sue me. Both judges ignored the stale rent DEFENSE. The tenant doesn't keep this money; it turns into a 'judgment for money only' and the unstale rent turns into a 'judgment for money and possession of the apt'. ps: the more months you owe, the more likely the LL will get legal fees from you...
Is it better to sue or be sued in this case?
It is always better to be on the offensive: to sue. It is not good to be on the defensive: to be sued. In tenant things, this means right now you should be making documentation of your conditions. First, read the MDL and HMC, make a big list, take photos, then call HPD (all complaints), DOH (rats), DOS (trash/recycling). Get copies of the violations those depts issue. As soon as he misses a deadline for repair, file the HP Action or not, your decision. File a complaint for Reduction of Services with DHCR, now, don't wait for the city agencies.
Also, lease is up at end of May and he hasn't sent new lease yet. Can I continue to go on not paying without a new lease? Thanks...
The only thing a renewal lease does is give the LL the right to raise the rent. Not having one means nothing to the tenant, except if you LL will lie and say he mailed it to you and you did not return it. So file a Failure to Renew Lease complaint with DHCR as soon as he misses that deadline.
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