Two months ago my husband and I moved to our current Residence. Our roommate encouraged us to move in with him, rather than the inconvenient location that was our only other option at the time. He'd been paying my husband $30 per hour to do work in his apartment, and agreed to the following terms:
A trial period of 3 months, at which point we would reevaluate the situation. If he wasn't loving the new arrangement, we'd have 30 days to relocate.
Shortly after we moved in, we discovered the following: 1. Our roommate was facing financial difficulties 2. He is a month to month tenant with no lease (he was never on a lease). 3. The building is commercial, although primarily occupied by residents. There are multiple lawsuits filed against the owner, I believe it relates to loft law.
Our roommate was already getting nasty about our presence in the 2500 Sq ft space, day two.
He requested my husband work on his company's cyber security. 150 hours ofor sleepless nights over a 33 day period and our roomate began insisting we were staying fire free and weren't doing enough for the privilege.
4500 is exactly 3 months rent + our share of utilities.
Long story short, he illegally locked us out of the apartment. Initially claiming it was by mistake, then admitting it, then taking it back.
He's made several menacing remarks, such as "I can make things very unpleasant."
Hey recently tried to claim we had to take on 2/3 of the rent (which was not what we verbally agreed to). We pointed out his girlfriend spent the night 5-7 nights per week the entire time we lived there, so he dropped it.
Basically, he harassed my husband and implied immediate eviction until my husband finished his IT project, then ramped up the harassment so we would be miserable and leave.
I believe he engages in illegal activity, too.
Because my husband put in so many hours the first month, he was unable to earn any real income. Now the roommate is trying to get rid of us, but we don't have the money to put first, last, aND deposit.
My hubby wants out ASAP since his friend/roommate tricked him into moving in so he'd do work, and we were insulted at every opportunity.
While I don't want to live with this monster, this place is an artists dream after living in 320 Sqft studio for 6 years. I really don't want to leave.
What are my options and how likely would I be to succeed?
Your post doesn't indicate a lot of details, but the gist I can make out is that you're roommates to a tenant who may or may not be under the jurisdiction of the loft law. I won't address the work arrangement other than it appears you're bartering for the rent. That should be an agreement in writing, just as any employment arrangment.
It appears he's a tenant whether or not he has a lease. You are the roommates, or sub-tenants. Your rights pretty much depend on what all parties agreed to.
He can force you to leave by taking you to court, just like any landlord.
Locking you out is illegal. See the Illegal Eviction Law in the Forum's reference section. If it happens, call the police.
You went into this with open eyes - no trickery. The tenant may be a jerk, but you've not indicated anything illegal on his part.
Make a decision if you wish to stay or not.
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