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Withholding rent -- Am I being fair?

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Withholding rent -- Am I being fair?

Postby frangrit » Wed May 15, 2002 5:31 pm

I have been living in a three bedroom dwelling in a six-apartment building in Brooklyn for nearly two years. It has recently come to my attention that, despite stipulations in the lease that state otherwise, I have been paying for heat and hot water through Keyspan for the entire duration of my stay here.

My roommates and I are vacating the apartment at the end of May, so we have decided to withhold our last month's rent as reparation for the additional costs of heating for the past two years.

I am sending a detailed report of this grievance to the landlord via certified mail, with copies of the Keyspan payment history, bill, and a copy of the lease with the stipulation highlighted.

I believe this is a fair call, especially because the disputed amount in heating bills exceeds the disputed amount for rent. I don't want this to be a big deal, but I am worried that the landlord will hold my security deposit as revenge.

Does anyone have suggestions or support on how to move forward with this?

Thanks!
frangrit
 
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Re: Withholding rent -- Am I being fair?

Postby Cranky Tenant » Wed May 15, 2002 6:04 pm

Check your Keyspan bill. Utility bills in New York City normally are for cooking fuel (gas) ane electricity. Heat and Hot water are normally supplied by the boiler and bot billed to the tenant.

If you are, in fact, paying to heat the building and provide hot water, and it works out to more than a month's rent, it's not "fair" You should be compensated in full.

On the other hand, if you don't pay your rent it's highly unlikely your LL will refund your security.
I'm a cranky tenant NOT a cranky lawyer.
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Re: Withholding rent -- Am I being fair?

Postby lina » Wed May 15, 2002 8:09 pm

If the landlord refuses to refund the security, is that legal?
If not, what can be done to get it back?
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Re: Withholding rent -- Am I being fair?

Postby frangrit » Wed May 15, 2002 8:50 pm

Our Keyspan bill has us under "Residential Non-Heat," but since our bills were so high (especially in winter) , we called the company to check things out. They told us that the entire building had been switched over to pay heat -- in fact, our neighbors next door have a rider on their lease stipulating that they pay their own heat. Keyspan told us that depsite our classification, we had been paying the heat bill in addition to the regular gas bill. Even if the building had been switched over, the landlord never notified us of that fact. All in all, it seems unfair.
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