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landlord is a bully

Posted by sean on January 23, 2001 at 12:18:47:

I live in a four-unit brownstone (Brooklyn)and began withholding rent after a long period of owner negligence toward major problems (hole in the roof, stairway crumbling in, and more). In December the owner started to make some of the necessary repairs - just scratching the surface, but a show of good faith nonetheless. So I began paying current rent starting w/ Dec., but continue to hold the four unpaid months (Aug. to Nov.) b/c I feel I should receive some sort of abatement for that period (I offered 50%). The owner (through a very rude mgmt. co., b/c he lives in Fla.) won't deal with me, won't make any further repairs, refuses to renew my recently expired lease and has threatened me with a five day eviction notice for past due $$ owed. My questions are: for a 4 unit brownstone - what are rules they need to follow? can they kick me out w/ less than 30 days notice? (esp. if I'm paying current rent) Is it worth my time to file a warranty of habitability claim now on a dispute from several months ago? Should I even bother offering to settle with no new lease in sight? Can they legally not offer a new lease? And finally, over the last year I've seen numerous notices from the City Environmental Board (not positive of the exact name right now, but def. a city agency) basically stating the place is a hazard and threatening punitive fines/action - - when I mentioned these notices to the owner, he laughed it off, saying he did a title search and nothing like that showed up. How can I check to see if these records exist? It seems they would make my potential case a lock. Thanks.

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