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Occupancy rights question for an attorney

Posted by Andre Sulmers on July 16, 2001 at 10:13:26:


In December of 1999, 3 tenants, A, B, and C, signed a lease for an apartment in Brooklyn, non-rent-stabilized, for a one-year term.

In December of 2000, Tenant A moved out of the apartment at the end of the lease period. A renewal lease was signed by tenants B and C; however, this lease was termed invalid because the landlord wished to charge rent for an amount higher than the rental charge on the renewal lease. Also in December, a fourth tenant (tenant D), moved into the apartment. Tenants B and C wished to add tenant D to the lease, but were rebuffed by the landlord. No subsequent renewal lease was signed. Tenants B, C, and D paid a rent higher than the original lease and the invalid renewal from December of 2000 until the present. No one was given a copy of the lease and repeated attempts during that period to obtain and or sign a copy of the lease were rebuffed.

Tenants B and C now wish to move out of the apartment. The landlord seeks to withhold the entire security deposit for the apartment. The landlord, though allowing tenants B and C to leave the apartment, would also have them pay for the last month in which they occupy the apartment. Additionally, tenant D is to them a "non-entity," though this person has written checks for the apartment and there is no valid lease existing between the landlord and any of the tenants. the landlord claims that this person has zero right to continue the "lease" for the remainder of the lease period. The landlord has also refused to cooperate with tenants B and C in finding replacement tenants for the rest of the remaining "lease" period and has threatened to charge rent on all three tenants until December 2001.


1. Does tenant D have any right to stay in the apartment given that she has paid rent presumptively as a lessee from December of 2000?

2. Can the landlord withhold the security deposit and demand last month's rent from all three tenants despite the fact that no agreement was actually signed and attempts to clarify this situation were rebuffed by the landlord?

Basically what rights do these people have?

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