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L.L. Defaulted on Lease; Won't Return Security Deposit

Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2002 at 14:33:27:

Hello, and much thanks in advance to anyone who responds...

I recently moved out of a rent-stabilized NYC apartment because my landlord repeatedly entered my apartment without giving me reasonable notice, as stated in our lease agreement.
During my time in this apartment, I was a model tenant--always paid rent on time, quiet, no complaints from fellow tenants or the on-site super. In fact, in our last conversation, when I said I would not be renewing the lease, my landlord expressed regret that he was "losing such an excellent tenant."
However, on at least four occasions since that conversation, my landlord entered the apartment (to show prosepective tenants, to have maintenance work done) without mentioning anything to me beforehand. I spoke to him about my concerns about having strangers in my apartment without my knowledge but to no avail. The unexpected visits kept occuring. I even wrote a formal letter of complaint, requesting that it be placed in my file.

One specific time, the landlord brought a prospective tenant to see the apartment while I was home--again without any advance notice. He knocked loudly but I was on the phone and didn't answer immediately, as I wasn't expecting guests. Thinking I wasn't at home, the landlord started unlocking my door with his own master key. Not only do I consider that an invasion of my privacy, but I feel he (my landlord) defaulted on the lease, specifically, the section that states 'reasonable notice before entry.'

So, I moved out before the lease was up. In a final letter to my landlord, I detailed that I was leaving because I felt he invaded my privacy and defaulted on the lease first, and I should have my security deposit returned to me. Am I right, and if so, what steps of recourse should I take? Please advise. And, thanks!

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