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Posted by EGH on March 31, 2000 at 17:06:07:

In Reply to: NO PETS IN LEASE, MADE US LEAVE!!!!! posted by Dina D on March 31, 2000 at 16:23:24:

: Please help! We lived in a coop building (just renting) where the lease stated no pets. WE lived there 1 1/2 years, and they renewed our lease after the one year mark. We had the dog since the beginning, and they knew it. I read about the three month pet law stating that after three months, of harboring the dog, the landlord cannot evict. A few months after renewing our lease, they sent us a letter stating that we have a dog, and because of that, they wont be renew ing our lease, and that we would have to vacate upon the end of the current lease. At the time, we did not know any better, and started looking for a new place to live. We witheld the rent, because they had two months security. We wound up holding back four months, so actually we owed two, because of the security. When it came time to hand in the keys, they told us they wanted to hold us til the end of the lease, and would not accept our rent, unless we were paying the whole lease , which would have been for 6 months extra. We left and did not pay anything. Now, we were served with a judgment stating we owe this money (two months) My question is...... are we entitled to any damages due to this??? Why should we pay??? If they caused us to move unlawfully. What should we do? I was thinking about reopening the lawsuit , but do we have rights??? Are we really responsible for paying this rent, or do they owe us money/.
: please help

Did you have an attorney in the court case that decided you owe two months? If so, talk to your attorney. But if you didn't --

By your calculations, you owe two months (four months held, less two months "security.") Now you have a judgment stating you owe two months. If you calculate that you owe two months, and a court (small claims?)agrees, the easiest thing would be for you to pay it. If a judge has said that you owe the money, then yes, you are responsible for paying it.

I'm not sure what damages you suffered. If I understand correctly, you were told that your (sub?)lease (not rent stabilized?) would not be renewed. Most non-rent stabilized leases or subleases give either the landlord or the tenant the right not to renew the lease by giving the other side a certain amount of written notice before the lease expires. If the landlord did that, you were not caused to move unlawfully. Strictly speaking, you decided to move yourself before you had to. Instead of waiting to the end of your lease period, you vacated the apartment early, owing money.

If you had a rent stabilized apartment, even in the co-op building, a landlord could not simply have declined to renew the lease. The landlord's recourse if you were violating the lease because of a pet would have been to begin a holdover proceeding against you in court. You may have been able to win this case if you could show the landlord knew you had a pet for a period of time without taking any action. However, once again, since you seem to have voluntarily vacated the apartment early, it would be hard to demonstrate that the landlord somehow forced you out of the apartment or evicted you illegally.

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