Posted by Jeff on April 02, 2000 at 11:28:03:
My question is regarding my deposit and compensation.
One November 7, 1998, I paid $700 for the first month's rent to Michael who at the time was one of two on the lease and living in the rent stabilized apartment in Manhattan. Then on November 11, I paid him $1,400 for the last month's rent and deposit. Because of long and messy story involving Michael moving out but still illegally subletting and another person, Chris who was on the lease but not living in the apartment, the owner forced everybody out, even though he told me on numerous occasions that my roommates and I were the "innocent victims" of Michael's scam. I did not pay anybody for December 1999, my last month there, so half of the $1,400 went to that, but I have not received any deposit back. Michael and Chris may have lost the deposit due to the illegal sublet, but I do not think I should pay for that. I sent Michael a letter certified mail on February 11, 2000, requesting the $700 and received the signed receipt, but he has not sent any of the deposit back.
The owner was especially angry over the fact that Michael and Chris were over charging the tenants. The monthly rent was $1,524.90 and each of us were paying $700 to Michael, each paying an extra $190. I was not aware of the big difference and the rent was reasonable for Manhattan. Could I try to get some of the money back from what he overcharged me? How much over can the person on the lease charge? For 13 months I paid over $190 for a total of $2,470. How much of that can I ask back?
Can I also request compensation from missing work? Because of Michael, I missed a couple of days of work looking for an apartment, dealing with the owner and also feeling that somebody should be in the apartment to protect our possessions.
Therefore, what are my rights? Can I get compensated, my deposit back and how do I go about this? Is it worth pursuing? Do I go to small claims court?
Thanks for taking the time to read this long story.
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