Posted by Barry on April 10, 1999 at 13:11:22:
I have lived in Brooklyn for 16 years in the same non-stabilized, non-controlled brownstone apt. I had a lease for 15 of 16 years. Last Spring, with notice of a rent increase, my LL gave me a deadline to decide whether or not I'd sign the lease. So I started checking to see what else was available. One week before her own deadline, she said that since I was "having trouble" deciding, she was revoking her offer of a lease and putting me on a mo-to-mo tenancy. First, is that legal? What are the chances I have bringing this issue before a judge in a holdover situation? And, can I do this myself? Do I need a lawyer? Can I find a pro se at a Tenant's Union who'll do this for free?
The 30 days' notice of termination papers that were sent me, apparently properly served, with certified mail and the rest, gave no written "reasons" as for the termination. A pro se at the T-L Clerk's office said that the notice was invalid bec it has to list the reasons. Yet, I called a T-L lawyer on the phone, who said that listing reasons doesn't matter, bec of my status as a non-protected mo-to-mo. I want to know which is correct.
Also, the notice of termination lists me as in apt. #5. My address has always been #4. Mail is addressed to me at #4. There is a "gold"-plated number on my floor that says "4." I checked the Certif. of Occupancy, and it says that there is a "ground" floor, and then goes on to list the four floors above the ground floor. So am I in the 4th floor, or the 5th floor? Is it a technicality I can use? Or is it pretty much worthless for use as an improper or invalid service of notice of termination?
I have not paid April's rent. I do not trust my LL to return the sec dep of nearly $1500, even if I DO move out by April 30th. I have not communicated with the LL. LL phoned, lft msg asking for rent, last week. LL also said that she assumes I'll be out by April 30th. And that she has asked my roommate of 9 months tenancy to "stay on" to begin renovations on May 1st.
The LL says that she wants everyone out of the building so that she can do renovations and then charge higher rents. Yet I seem to be the only person getting prepared to move. And I believe I'm the only person with termination papers.
I have always had roommates. This is a flr-thru bwnstn, with two entrances, two LRs, two BRs, kitchen divides it in the middle. I have always selected my roommates. The roommate does not have a lease. My roommate pays rent to me, by check; I have in the past, always on the 1st of the month, had a check in full paid to my LL, from me. The current roomate has been here for 9 months. He does painting of apts/remodeling for a living. I believe he is in cahoots with my LL to get me out of here and to take over the apt. or to get his own roommate, even if higher priced. At first, his name did not appr on termination papers. Then it later did. But he told me that he wasn't going to stay and fight it, that he found a studio apt just a few blocks away. Oh really? That quickly? He never broke a sweat over this action or looked in a newspaper. He just got an apt. "like that ::snaps fingers::."
As I said, when the LL left phn msg asking about Apr's rent, she also said that she has asked my roomie to stay on here to begin the renovations. So the apt. won't be habitable for me, but apparently it will be for him (and possibly a partner). But the roomie has not said that, oh, btw, "I'm staying after all." he has paid April's rent (by check). Now, I want to get rid of him, bec I think this whole thing stinks and that I'm essentially being screwed out of my apt. I feel that if HE stays past April 30th, then he is still MY subtenant, and he will owe me rent for as long as he stays here. Maybe even if I'm no longer here. And I can tell him that if he stays, a) he owes me rent for May b) he loses his sec dep for breaking the agmt -- his "I've found a studio and am leaving" constitutes 30 days' notice; he's either out, as he said, or he loses the sec dep c) if he stays past April 30th, then I can either take him to court for holdover (just as I'll surely be taken by my LL), and/or I'll take him to small claims court for recovery of rent owed me by him. Can I get rid of this guy? Any suggestions, thoughts, opinions, actual knowledge of fact?
So, here I am. I can either get out now, with the rent I haven't paid in lieu of the sec dep, and forget the rest of the issues, or I can just holdover past April 30th and wait till I'm taken to court by LL. I can go before the judge and try to get an extension of x-amount of time, saying that I need time to find an apt in my price range. Perhaps I can also try invalidating the termntn papers, or go for "retraction of (lease) offer." (And I believe LL has written notices of when she offered/revoked lease. What is the chance of getting her papers subpoena'd by judge). Maybe I can get a trial about the retraction? I could hire a lawyer for a grand, or what is the avail of pro se's? And I can also say to this roomie that I want him out on Apr 30th; I don't care what my LL says--he's MY tenant, not hers. If he stays, HE's in violation and will either lose sec dep or pay me rent on May 1st.
I would at the very least like to get a nice, long extension before I have to vacate these premises. I want to mess with my LL's timetable, if possible, bec she's given me no consideration after I've been a good tenant for 16 years. And I'd like to get this roommate "out." He wants to stay on, make money renovating the apt., and perhaps be able to take over the apt. once I'm gone. And I'm the person who got him in here in the first place.
I know this is a long posting, but, as you can see, there are at least a few issues. I have been getting conflicting opinions, from pro se's at the T-L Clerk's office; from the Tenant's Unions; from the T-L lawyer friend of a friend who advised me on the phone; and from people who have been in similar situations. But I'd like to know what I can do, and how I should go about it.
I'm supposed to be out of here by April 30th. Suggestions? You can email me directly with responses instead of posting. Anyone who can help, thanks in advance!
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