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Re: attorney fees! I think you can do it yourself!

Posted by BB on February 20, 2002 at 11:18:20:

In Reply to: attorney fees posted by K Hall on February 19, 2002 at 08:02:23:

I'm not a lawyer but...Fee definitely sounds high! This seems like a case you can fight yourself. Just my personal opinion, but I think all it takes is the right documentation and records. Assuming you do not wish to stay in the apt (if you want to stay file an HP action),
I suggest:
1. keep and record all correspondence between you and LL regarding the problem. (mail letters using "cert. of mailing"). It is important to show that you gave LL ample time to make HPD or Health Dept. and ask how many days they give to correct mold.
2. take pictures of the mold, include in the picture for date verification a tabloid like newspaper cover i.e Daily News, so that the date can be documented. Keep the newspaper.
3. go to your Doctor, and get a report of the symptoms you are/have experienced that documents how your health has been severely affected. (Do a net search on the effects of mold)
4. Call the Health Dept. (see link below) and have an inspection, make sure you get a copy. In extreme circumstances they may issue a vacate order
5. Complain to HPD, and get an Inspector to come out and document.
6. Depending on how long you have been living there, your rental amount, whether you are in arrears etc... you may wish to file/start an HP Action in Housing Court prior to moving out. (Although, if you temporarily relocate your LL probably won't be responsible for your costs).
Bottom line, you need to prepare a strong defense/counterclaim in case your LL comes after you for breach of contract and arrears. Technically you are responsible for the rent until your lease expires. So if you do go in front of a judge make sure you have solid evidence as to why you had no choice, but to vacate the premises.
Like I said, I'm not a lawyer...This is just what I would do if I was in your situation.
Best of Luck!

: I am breaking a lease due to excessive mold problems and the landlord entering my apartment. An attorney is asking for a retainer of $7,500.00 to take this case although he assures me I can break the lease. This seems excessive or is this the going rate for New York?

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