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Rental Problem

Posted by James P on March 18, 2001 at 17:20:44:


I am a renter in Staten Island, NY. I am renting the top half of a mother-daughter. I signed a typical Bloomberg Lease in 97, 98, and 99 and my landlord never asked for a renewel in June 2000, so I guess you would say that I am a month to month tenant. There was a rider attached to the lease; here is the wording verbatim:

"This rider is attached to and made part of the lease agreement dated _____ between [landlord] and [tenant].

The tenant is responsible for the repair of appliances and fixtures, such as refrigeration and dishwasher.

The tenant provides heat and hot water for the first level apartment. The tenant also provides electricity for one of the outlets in the bedroom of the first level apartment. The landlord agrees to pay for one third of the tenant's gas bill for November and March and one half for December, January and February.

The tenant is responsible for maintaining lawn and shrubs in good condition.

The tenant is responsible for snow removal in front of the house.

Only one small dog is allowed."

Points to note:

The rider about the electrical outlet arose because we blew a fuse upstairs and the bedroom downstairs blacked out. I brought it to his attention while renogiating the lease and he put that in. I have also found out that this house is in fact a two family, but the Certificate of Occupancy only states that the first level apartment is a one bedroom; the landlord has converted it to a two bedroom, which houses a family of six.
I would also like to point our that I have zero access to the fuse box. If a cicuit breaker blows and the downstairs tenant is out, I go without power until they return, or the landlord shows up.

Myself and my wife live upstairs; a couple with 4 children live downstairs. I am paying for the hot water for 8 people and I am just 2. Every other month the landlord drops a photocopy of a gas bill in my mailbox addressed to him with my address as the servicing address and asks me to pay the specified percentage (as stated above)

Now here is the new dilemna:

A while back I had a problem with the oven. I had a repairman come in, and it was fixed at the landlord's expense. Recently, the oven broke again and this time the landlord refuses to reimburse me quoting the rider to the lease "the tenant is responsible for the repair..." I believe (and claim) that the agreement when I moved in was that I would be responsible ONLY for the dishwasher and refrigerator.

When I brought it to the landlord's attention, he got very angry, mentioned that he was not asking for the previously paid bill, and then mentioned that I should start looking for a new apartment.

What can I do? What jargon can I use on the phone throw back at this idiot? Is it unlawful to have me sign an agreement to share a meter? Is it fair that I am splitting the heat and hot water when it is 2 of us and 6 of them (downstairs tenants)? Is it lawful for me to be paying a gas bill that is clearly in his name? If he pushes, what can I push back with? Is he violating any rules?

Please help! Thank you so much in advance!

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