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Re: Early termination of standard rent stabilized lease?

Posted by EGH on March 30, 2000 at 15:25:43:

In Reply to: Early termination of standard rent stabilized lease? posted by VRC on March 30, 2000 at 13:45:48:

: I signed a standard rent stabilized lease for two years dated Feb 1, 2000 and have found my apartment to be awful at best. I paid two months security deposit and already know in the short time I've been here that my landlord is not the type to return a deposit. I plan to give 60 days notice and apply the deposit to my rent. Is this okay? I got burned by a landlord two years ago and am still trying to collect a judgement on a security deposit owed to me--the judge even admonished me by saying that "nobody in NYC pays their last months rent--they apply their deposit!" (even though that particular lease stated I had to pay rent & my deposit would be returned). As such, I don't want to go through that headache all over again. There is no clause in my current lease that refers to a tenant terminating a lease. In case my landlord says I am supposed to pay rent even though I'm moving out, am I obligated by law to pay rent and wait for the deposit which I know will not be returned? Thank you for you help!

Is your plan "okay?" -- Putting aside questions of morality:
You have signed a contract to pay a specific amount of rent over a specific amount of time for an apartment. The landlord is required to provide you with a habitable place to live. You do not say what you mean when you say your apartment is "awful at best," but generally the recourse available to a rent stabilized tenant with poor housing conditions is obtaining a reduction of rent or a rent abatement, plus an order to repair the apartment, not your unilateral termination of your lease. Most standard leases contain some language to the effect that only a release in writing from the landlord can terminate your obligation to fulfill your part of the contract. What this means is that your landlord could still go after you in court for all the annual rent you agreed to pay for the term of your lease.

That being said, most landlords in New York City with rent stabilized apartments rarely go after absconding tenants, just because it usually is not cost effective. It's more worth their time and money repainting and rerenting the apartment and getting the ridiculous rent increases now allowed by the Rent Stabilization Code. (The landlord may go to the trouble of putting your name on one of the blacklist services landlords can subscribe to.)

Finally, there is no such thing as two months' security deposit for a Rent Stabilized apartment. The maximum security deposit is one month. You can consider one month you paid as a security deposit, and one month as rent.

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