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Can I deduct rent?

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Can I deduct rent?

Postby mmtheg » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:30 pm

Hello,

Just moved into an apartment. The date on my lease is 09/01/14. After paying deposit, rent, and signing the lease, I was not given keys until 09/04/14. Is it legal for me to deduct those four days from my rent for the next month? Please advise.

Thanks,
mmtheg
 
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Re: Can I deduct rent?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:26 pm

You don't tell us if you are rent stab, or not, or any fine print of your lease (have you read that?), or the circumstances why the giving you access was delayed.

Of course you can withhold/deduct rent any time, but the LL also has the right to sue you.
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Re: Can I deduct rent?

Postby mmtheg » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:12 pm

This is a rent stabilized building. I have read the lease and there is no stipulation of late entry included in the lease.

We are not exactly sure of the true reason we were delayed. The management company was inconsistent with information, they kept making excuses about providing us keys and creating new reasons to delay us. The reason we were given for the delay is that they needed a notarized document to be sent from our guarantor, but this info was not given to us until after we paid and signed the lease. They also gave us the wrong address to send the document, which added to the delay. (Not our fault)

My main question, is there a legal president that I can site to justify reducing my rent for this issue? There was no good reason to not let us in the unit, especially because we paid for the entire month.

Ultimately, we just showed up at the building, our broker got the keys from a lockbox and let us in. Super made us copies of keys the next day.
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Re: Can I deduct rent?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:54 pm

I haven't seen any cases on this issue, although I'm sure they're around. Many leases have a paragraph regarding a move-in date and a dislcaimer for act-of-God.

Did you go to extra expense in the delay, i.e., cost to stay at a hotel, or to store your belongings?
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Re: Can I deduct rent?

Postby mmtheg » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:10 pm

We had to pay for two nights in a sublet, so yes. The delay for the move-in was an act of human stupidity.
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Re: Can I deduct rent?

Postby TenantNet » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:23 pm

If you're market rate, then I would forget it -- because makling a stilk will get the LL to not renew your lease.

If you are sure you're rent stab, then you have tools. At a minium, you should ask the LL to prorate the rent for that month to deduct the rent for the number of days you did not have access. Make sure you document everything.

You can withhold rent and be taken to Housing Court, but even with RS protections, that's iffy. You can also file in small claims court if under $5,000.

And double-check the lease. Most standard leases have provisions whare the LL is not responsible for a move-in delay. While I don't know if that's enforceable, the LL would rely on that.

Start researching the web for cases along those lines. See what they say.
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