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how to get my security back (a long brooklyn story)

Posted by ginger on October 31, 2001 at 20:47:07:

Imoved into my old apt. in 1995. I had a roomate.We paid 900$ a month for a 2 bedroom.I signed a lease with a real estate agent and the landlord and paid one month + deposit.I had a few more roomates until 2000. The rent was increased to 1000$ incl. utilities in 1998, and 1100$ in 2000.

The house is a 3 story brickstone in Carroll Gardens. There are 4 apts where tenants have lived. The "landlord" lives on the first floor. She is the "owner" of the house but her 30 year old son makes all the decisions. She can be a little forgetful, but always adamantly stands by whatever the son says.

Starting in 1998 the house was in a list pendants. One of her other sons tried to cheat her out of her proper share of the building. After that happened, her "good" son told us to stop paying rent to the bad son and to pay cash to his mother. We complied. they took the utilities out of our name and raised the rent 100$. The year after they raised the rent again to 1100.

This past March the "good" son told me they'd settled the case, and that they'd be raising the rent to 2300. Of course I couldn't pay that.
Starting sept,I made a deal with the landlord to pay 1700 per month for a maximum of 6 mos while I was looking for another apt .He wanted me to move out asap. I found an apt the first week of sept and told the good son i was moving out.
I moved out of the apt on the last day of sept and left it in perfect condition.
I had a feeling he was going to raise a problem with the security deposit so I videotaped the actual landlord doing the walk through with me saying there should be no problem to get back the security deposit.I have called the son 3 times and he has't returned my calls. The landlord "mom" told me there must be a good reason why I'm not getting back the security deposit.But she can't offer one.I moved down the street so I see her all of the time.
My cousin had lived on the first floor apt and they had kicked him out in June but gave him a month's free rent. ( his security deposit)
I don't have a copy of the original one year lease. We never signed one after that.I gave all of the checks I had written in the apt to the "good"son for his trial with his other brother.
I have witnesses, roomates who have lived there and paid the security deposit.
They never painted once in 7 years. I painted once. can they deduct for that?
Should they have put the money in escrow?
any advice?

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