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LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrades

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LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrades

Postby TenaciousTenant » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:05 pm

My former NYC landlord is claiming damage to the laminate flooring which isn't true and are trying to collection $1,000+ from us for it. We took pictures so I feel confident we can prove no damage beyond normal wear and tear. I believe they are trying to get us to pay for flooring they replace anyway before each new tenant. I've threatened to file an overcharge complaint and I'm prepared to fight them in court if need be.

It's a rent-regulated building so in re-renting it and upping the rent for that unit, I suspect they used the cost of the flooring to justify the higher rent for the new tenant. Since I'm no longer the current tenant, can I get access to that info from DHCR?

Any suggestions on how to fight this?
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:27 pm

Your best bet is photos and witnesses.
Is the LL taking it out of your deposit, or threatening to come after you?
Overcharge is a separate issue, and usually filed with DHCR.

Your suspicions are probably correct. I'd be in touch with your former neighbors in order to contact the new tenant to see what's going on.

You can also contact DHCR. Normally they want evidence that you are the tenant, so I don't know how they treat requests for former tenants. Let us know what they do.
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenaciousTenant » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:41 pm

Thanks for the quick reply. We have photos and we hired professional movers and cleaners and plenty of people can attest to the condition of the apartment just before leaving so I feel good about those things. As you suggest, I will reach out to the current tenant and see what she's comfortable providing without jeopardizing her relationship with them.

So they are threatening to come after us for the amount (they don't have the security deposit so they can't withhold it). I'm trying to stop them for collecting money from us that we don't owe and/or hurting our credit/rental history with this bogus attempt.

They'll receive the backoff letter in a few days so we'll see how they respond.
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:07 pm

Whether they back off or not depends on who the LL is, and how litigious he/she is, who their lawyer is, and if you have a lawyer, who that is. It would improve your position if you are now out-of-state. It will be harder (although not impossible) for them to come after you if you are in NJ or CT.

Get to know the credit laws to make sure if they do anything, they follow every legal requirement. There are websites that deal with those issues.

As you're no long in possession, they can't start a case in Housing Court. They can go to Small Claims Court if the LL is a person, not a corporation. Else, they would have to go to Civil or Supreme Court.

If the new tenant is RS (and the LL didn't try to deregulate the unit), she's probably protected. If not, she should do her own research to see if she has a claim to contest the deregulation. You can help her with that in terms of what the rent was when you were there, and any improvements they might have made.

Also keep an eye on the Altman case (still under appeal) that might have a bearing on any deregulation.
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenaciousTenant » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:24 pm

Thank you for the info and response! We're out of state and in different region of the country now. I suspect they think we won't fight as vigorously because it would be inconvenient to do so from another state. It will be; however, we're not opposed to hiring a lawyer to represent us there if necessary and counter suing to get our attorney's fees covered should it come to that.
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:37 pm

I would check with an atty in your new area. But I think if even the LL were to file a suit here and obtain a judgment, they would have to collect in your new location - assuming your bank account is in your new location. That would likely be difficult. Even so, there could be repercussions on your credit.
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Re: LL lying about damage & trying to make up pay for upgrad

Postby TenaciousTenant » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:54 pm

I understand what you're saying. I can't believe they are doing so because (and I'm sure everyone says this) but seriously...there are no damages beyond wear and tear. I know anything can happen but I can't imagine they could ever win a judgment with the evidence we have. But you're right...I'm only concerned about this because I fiercely protect our credit so we'll definitely seek legal advice and counsel to keep this from hurting us. I think they just throw this out there and see who caves...I hoping once they see what we have, they'll think better of this and stop.
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