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Re: Early termination of standard rent stabilized lease?

Posted by VRC on March 30, 2000 at 20:58:40:

In Reply to: Re: Early termination of standard rent stabilized lease? posted by EGH on March 30, 2000 at 15:25:43:

Thank you very much for your response. I apologize in advance for the following (very long) return post, and I appreciate your trying to help. I sent a certified letter to my landlord this afternoon terminating my lease and requesting her to apply my deposit toward the rent (before I read your response). Perhaps I should have waited....

By "awful at best" I mean the apartment has turned out to be less than I anticipated because of the hot water among other things. I am paying $1000.00, and the apartment is newly renovated with brand new everything (almost). I paid one month's security deposit and first month's rent as well as "the thirteenth month" rent. ($3000 altogether). My two-year lease has a "Concessional Rent Rider for Vacancy Lease" attached to it which states that "there is a concession amount of $50.00 over $1000 which is the preferential rent of the subject apartment."

The apartment itself is nice since it is new, but the heat and hot water in the building does not work consistently. I live on the top floor of a fifth floor walkup, so the water often shuts completely off (or becomes a trickle) whenever others in the building are using it. This is a problem every night and in the mornings--usually when I am in the middle of a shower and despite trying to vary my shower times. The first night I stayed in my apartment, there was no hot water and some other nights as well (but it is always back on by morning). Longterm residents have told me they think the landlord regulates the heat/hot water in order to get them out (so that she can rent to fools like me who have been pushed out of the rental market downtown but can still afford to pay what we think is a bargain). I called the complaint line once, and the inspector who was sent to my apartment a week later told me that the flow of water required by the city is the width of a pencil. That is unacceptable to me even if it is within the law. Also, since the building is older, nothing can really be done about the water pressure.

The windows in my apartment were supposed to have been fixed and have not been. They fall completely out of the tracks when opened because they were not fitted properly into the window frame. The front entry of the building is not secure, but the landlord said she is going to renovate it when the weather gets better. (Apparently she has been saying this for years). In the meantime, non-residents go up to the roof and hang out, and occassionally there are strangers in the hallways--I can't say for sure they are doing drugs but they have that junkie look and are not visiting with residents. I have been told that there is a lot more activity in the summer time, so as a single woman, this concerns me.

There are 15 apartments in my building, and most of the other tenants have been here for many years. The building manager does not live in the building, but is supposed to be moving into the basement apartment that is now being built. (She has told me that he would be moving into 2 different apartments, but he never did because she decided to rent them out after she renovated them. As it stands, I'll believe he's moving in when I see him doing so.)

Con-Ed has sent me notices that they are going to turn off the service in the common areas because the landlord has not paid her bill, and they suggested that the tenants get together to pay the bills and then take her to court. I haven't gotten any notices recently, so I guess she must have paid them.

I would like to have faith in my landlord since she says she is making improvements, but I really feel like a sucker for having taken this apartment. I don't like living in a place where animosity has built up after only two months. They are doing renovations to apartments as they are vacated, so perhaps things will get better, but I don't have the stamina to wait and see (the problems have kept me from completely unpacking my boxes just in case). Instead of continuing to be depressed over it (which I am), I figured it would be best for me to move while I still have the energy and the boxes.

Given that I ended up taking another deadbeat landlord to court a couple of years ago for not returning my $1500 deposit and the sheriff has still not been able to collect, I don't want to put myself in that position again by paying my rent and then having to go to small claims court to get the deposit back (which I anticipate having to do with this landlord). I've already learned that small claims court is no guarantee that you'll get your money back. I was not aware there is a "blacklist" of tenants, so I guess I am more concerned now about the repercussions of my lease termination. No doubt my "morality" is wandering around somewhere along with that other security deposit.

Sorry again for the long whiny post. Thank you for taking the time to offer suggestions.


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