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Sublease hell

Posted by Elizabeth on October 10, 1999 at 10:28:59:

I moved into what turned out to be an illegal sublet on July 3rd, 1999. It is a rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan, with approx. 20 units . On August 28th, I was served with a notice of termination for the primary tenant, listing me as the occupant, due to lack of permission from the landlord and rent-gouging by the sublessor. (His rent is $867; mine was $1200, for an unfurnished apartment, though he claims it was furnished.) I forwarded the notice to the tenant from whom I sublet, and have contacted and cooperated with the landlord. On Sept. 10, I received a brief note from the primary tenant apologizing for the overcharge (yeah, right) and then demanding payment of rent which is STILL illegal-- $991 per month, still more than legal even if the apartment were fully furnished, which it is not. Then on Friday I was served with an Order to Show Cause by the primary tenant along with the annexed Verified Petition. All my research shows these only being used by tenants against landlords; in this case, I am the tenant and the legal occupant. His occupancy ended in July; his legal tenancy was terminated on September 21st. Regardless, I am supposed to show up at 9:30 on Tuesday in Court. Because of the Monday holiday, I am afraid I will not be able to retain a lawyer by then. So what do I do? Incidentally, I have all of my documentation together with my attempts to settle things amicably with the primary tenant, as well as copies of letters to the Attorney General, DHCR, and Dept of State regarding the overcharge, mishandling of security deposit, and of course my sublease and the notice of termination. What do I do Tuesday? Since the Order to Show Cause claims he is the lawful occupant and tenant and he is NOT, does he even have a right to bring this action? And what do I tell a judge if I am stuck there on Tuesday without an attorney? For more info on the beginning of this sordid story, please see my posting "sublet eviction horror" dated in 8/28/99 in the archive. Thanks in advance... Elizabeth.

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