Posted by TA on February 23, 2000 at 22:41:13:
I'll try to keep this short and to the point. I live in Manhattan in one of two adjacent buildings which the landlord owns. These buildings are primarily rooming houses with a few apartments thrown in for good measure. I originally moved into one of the weekly rooms (in the building next door) because I here from CA and needed a place pretty quickly. Staying with friends doesn't cut it, lol. I paid one week's rent as a security deposit. Anyway, when my present studio apartment became available, I took it. We signed a new lease with the new "weekly" rate and I got the keys.
I was verbally informed by the landlord that I had to pay a "broker's commission" to the super (who serves no purpose here) in order to move in. I assume that he thought that I was a stupid Californian who didn't know any better. Because I really needed this place, I told him that I would pay this fee in installments which I have been doing.
A little history: he charges $285/week for those tiny rooms and I'm paying close to $1300/month for this place. There are 18 units in both of these buildings, with at least 6 of them being "real" apartments. So now you have an idea of what he rakes in if you do the math. Last summer I told him that I was thinking of buying an AC and he informed me that I had to pay $150 for the electrical circuit to be run to the breaker box along with an additional fee for the electricity I would be using. (The utilities are included for each rental in these buildings, so how would he know what I was using?)
All this really got me to thinking and I got POd. Now my questions: do I have any recourse on making him reimburse me this phony broker's fee? I have cancelled checks. Also is there any legal body which governs these landlords who run these rooming houses? By this I mean, are there regulations that control what can be charged for rent and is there any recourse for complaints in general? Like what can we do to make him repair the doorbells that haven't worked in eons or put in mailboxes? He hand delivers the mail to everyone. I know in NYC it's all about the money but we are definitely NOT getting what we are paying for here. I'd like to know if I have any options to take action to deal with him. Any input (via e-mail or posting) will be greatly appreciated if you can make sense of this rambling.
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