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unenforceable security deposit clause?

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unenforceable security deposit clause?

Postby ulcerforming » Sun Feb 02, 2003 7:36 pm

Hi everyone--Here's my sorry situation: I live in an unregulated, owner-occupied NYC apt; the lease ends Feb. 28. I didn't give my LL a 60-day written notice of my intention not to renew, as it was stipulated in the lease that I must or else be subject to lost rent should the LL not be able to find a tenant by March 1 and also risk losing my security deposit (1 1/2 mo.). I admit I stupidly forgot about the clause, but when my LL contacted me in early Jan. and asked me if I planned to renew, and I said I didn't know yet, she said that was OK and that I had until the end of January anyway (needed to give her 30 days' notice). I let her know of my decision to not renew about 2 weeks ago (40 days' notice).

But since written agreements generally trump oral, my question is, is this clause enforceable, or would it be considered unreasonable/unconscionable? I am not breaking the lease, so in effect this clause makes me responsible for the apt's rent AFTER my lease term expires. If my LL were a normal person, I wouldn't sweat it so much, but she is unpredictable and every tenant in our small building has had major problems with her--entering our apts without permission or reasonable notice, tampering with mail, calling the cops on tenants for invalid reasons. Out of fear of retaliation and her making up damage charges on our security deposit, I have bent over backward to be a model and uncomplaining tenant. But a discussion I had with her the other night in which she denied saying she gave me more time clearly indicates she will not be giving me any slack on the clause. I've consulted a lawyer and he has strongly advised me to withhold my last month's rent (which I am doing), especially since she has repeatedly violated my rights and proven untrustworthy. However, it's not that I don't trust him, but I'm still worried because I did sign the lease agreeing to it, and my LL is an extremely litigious, vengeful person. Has anyone had a similar situation or knows if I'm totally wrong?
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Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2003 2:01 am

Re: unenforceable security deposit clause?

Postby Phil Cohen » Wed Feb 05, 2003 5:20 pm

Sounds like a legal issue--and you already received legal advice.
I think what your lawyer said makes sense.
Keep in mind that I am a tenant. Not a lawyer!!!!!
Phil Cohen
Posts: 1016
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2002 2:01 am

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