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Rent overcharge in non rent stabilized apartment

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Rent overcharge in non rent stabilized apartment

Postby mastercoder » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:56 pm

Hi,
I am sharing a house with two other people in a house that has two large rooms(one person stays in each) and 2 small rooms(belongs to one person). I moved in on January and since then myself and the person whose name is on the lease agreed to a rent of $500 each month (total rent $1500) and a security deposit of $500 initially. During the course of stay, I found out that the person who hold the lease 'X' keeps entering into my room without my permission. Since I am a foreign national, I thought it would be better to lock my room because of my sensitive documents, so I started locking it. The 'X' started calling me and asking for access to my room since my room has wifi router. Although wifi works perfectly for me and the other guy in the house, 'X' claims its wifi is not working and asks me to keep the door open for the technician to come and check. I agreed and left it unlocked for a week and then locked it again. Now 'X' calls me and I didn't pick up and so X leaves a voicemail asking me for a permanent access to my room so that X can get air whenever 'X' wants and also access the wifi router.

When I met 'X' in person later that day, 'X' started yelling at me for locking it, asked me for a copy of the key and I denied to give 'X' the copy of the key. Next day 'X' sends me a mail asking me to move out of the house on July. I asked time till August, initially 'X' agreed and now is asking me for $650 rent.

Is it legal? Please advice what I have to do.

Also the other guy moves out this month and 'X' claims it is going to increase the rent for the room I am staying right now and if I want to stay till august I need to move to the smaller rooms which will have the same rent. I can't do that because I have lot of things that will not fit in and also I cannot lock those rooms from outside.

I have a proof that X rented that particular room to me on email conversation and all the rents I paid were bank transfers.

P.S: Owner has an office downstairs who has the key for emergency.
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:12 pm

If you have a lease for a certain amount of rent, then that is what it is, not more. Your message is convoluted so it is difficult to figure out more if you or anyone else has a legal lease or not.

If you have a lease giving you a right to certain rooms, then no one else has any right to access the rooms during the time when you are a tenant. The LL might have a right to access for repairs, but that is on specific written notice. If there are issues, turn off the router when you are not there and make sure access is restricted. It's your router.

I don't understand how X has any right to your room or to demand that you vacate. He is not the landlord, correct?
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Postby mastercoder » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:33 pm

X is the tenant who has the lease on her name. I don't have my name on the lease but I have been paying the same rent for 5 months. Now since I didn't allow the access to my room ,X is kicking me out and also wants to increase my rent on the last month. I can't change my address now because my visa is under extension process. Sorry if I was rambling too much on my previous post.
Wifi is shared and I gave access to X for more than a week to fix what ever the problem she claims it to be.
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:45 pm

You don't explain if you are the subtenant of X or of the landlord. Do you have an actual lease or just agreement? A lease would specify the rent and the period of time in which it is in effect, along with other terms.

If you own the wifi hardware (and you have the agreement with the internet provider), then it is your decision to share it or not.

Lock your room, turn off the wifi. That is your choice. Make sure you look at the rules on illegal evictions (in the forum's reference section). If need be contact the police.

As you are a foreign national, look to help with organizations that are based in your nationality. They might have legal resources.
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Postby mastercoder » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:24 pm

No. I don't have a lease. We just had a verbal agreement regarding rent. X has the lease and I share a room in the house. I want to know if it is legal to overcharge me.
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Postby mastercoder » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:26 pm

We have agreements through emails. Will that be considered official?
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:02 am

IMO that makes you a roommate (although some might call it an undertenant or subtenant).

In order to evict you, he has to give written notice served on you, and take you to court. He can't just change the locks. If he does that, go to the police. Look at the section here on illegal evictions and carry with you proof that you live there (such as bills sent to you at that address).

If it gets nasty and threatening, I would even contact the police before he tries to change the locks. I would also keep my own room locked with valuable possessions under lock and key. Keep your passport with you so he can't block access to documents you might need.

Remember, he has to go to court to get you out.
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Postby mastercoder » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:55 am

Thanks tenantnet,
So far nothing like that happened. X wants me to pay $650 for the month of august or move out and I have refused it. Before X comes up with something else I just wanted to know my rights.

P.S: X is not the landlord, just a tenant who has the name on the lease.
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Postby Emeraldstar » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:04 am

Hi All
You can rent for a fee a bank safety deposit box to store your legal papers. It's a lot safer than in a room no matter what the circumstances & where you roommate.
Focus on finding another room asap, make certain you can lock it legally /safely, not blocking means of egress/fire escape etc. Ensure your next room has nothing of another's property in it. Just my view, I would not pay another dime & pack/tape boxs well (so sneaky can get caught if snooping) what you don't need immediate.
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:08 am

In order to raise the rent, your landlord (who is the prime tenant) must give you notice of the change. I believe it has to be written and I think it's 30 days, although the 30 days applies to month-to-month tenants, not necessarily roommates.
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Postby mastercoder » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:12 am

Thanks TenantNet and Emeraldstar,

Believe me I really want to leave the house as soon as possible but unfortunately my visa extension is under review by the USCIS. I don't want to add more confusion by changing my address, that is why I am holding on to this house. The moment I get the Authorization card, I will look for a new apartment and leave.
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