TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Deceptive landlord/broker?

Rights for non-regulated tenants

Moderator: TenantNet

Deceptive landlord/broker?

Postby pen6cil » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:31 am

I am a new renter to NYC, I have two roommates, and this is our first time renting. We found apartment with help of a broker. Apartment is a 3 bedroom month to month rental in a 3 family home, landlord is in the building. The contract we signed stated 3 occupants, no pets. This is all that is on the rental agreement. We took possession of keys 10/01. Between work obligations, travel etc. all 3 of us did not move in exactly on 10/01.

Once we all moved in, by 3rd week of October, things got a little out of hand with landlord. As the days progressed "rules" now were being added by the day.
Myself and 2 roommates start work at different times, from 7;30-9 am, so leave at different times. We return at 5:30- 7pm in the evening. She has stated we all have to leave at the same time in the morning. One of roommates has a SO, who on occasion has stayed over night, maybe one night a week, two at most. One roommate had 2 out of town friends stay overnight one night to travel to a wedding they were attending. Floors are not carpeted, we do not have wild parties, no playing loud music, in bed by 11.
Landlord has video camera at front door, recording our comings and goings. She has now said we are not allowed to have ANY guests, not friends, S/O nobody. Just the 3 of us. We can not be walking around our apartment with shoes on, too noisy. All noise must be over by 10 pm, no walking around after 10 pm.

When she began with the new rules, we contacted the broker to inquire if they were aware of these stipulations, because we would not have agreed to rent if we were aware of this. Broker said no it was not part of agreement, they were not aware of this as stipulations for the rental.
We asked the broker to find us another place, we could not stand the daily harassment the landlord gave us as we entered the home or exited the home, she would come out and harass us in the hallway. We sat down with landlord, to try to come to a reasonable solution, but in the end we realized she is bat crazy.Broker agreed, we gave landlord a move out date of Dec 1st, on or before Nov 1st. Landlord is claiming we never told her anything about leaving which is an outright lie.

Landlord now claims she knows for a fact the broker knew the guest/S/O policy, and said don't you remember when broker asked in front of me if any of us had girlfriend/boyfriends. He did ask us, but did not say why he was asking us. This broker is/seems like a con man, so was he meeting his obligation of asking us, but not telling us why he asked, in the presence of the landlord?
Now after repeated requests to speak to the landlord to inform her our move out date is this weekend, she is claiming she is not giving us our month security back. Landlord has turned off heat since the beginning of this past week outside temps are 30 at night.

We do not know where to turn, we are out the broker fee of $4000 plus $3000 security deposit, plus all the other expenses of a new apartment, which the above mentioned broker did not help us obtain.

IS there any avenue we can explore to get our deposit back, or go after the broker for deceptive rental if he knew what the landlord rules were before we signed. If it was not in writing, how can we remedy this at the least cost possible.

I am afraid once we hand back the keys she will never answer any phone calls or answer the door when we come looking for the deposit. Since she has a live video feed rolling in her living room of any and all activity going on in and outside the building.

Suggestions greatly appreciated.
pen6cil
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:41 am

Re: Deceptive landlord/broker?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:24 am

Please answer these questions:

Is this a real apartment, separate from the rest if the house? Or is it more like a rooming house situation?

Did all three of you come as a package, knowing each other before moving in? Or did the broker or LL just take three strangers out of the blue? (that happens quite a lot). Do you each pay rent to the LL, or combine the money first and pay in one check?

On the new rules, are/were they in writing? Given to each of you, posted, mailed, or oral notification?

Was the broker paid? Or was it a no-fee arrangement? Did you have to pay security, first and last month's rent? (being month-to-month, that seems unlikely, but I've seen it happen).

For your move-out, did you notify the LL? How, in writing? How soon in advance? (actually for a M2M you don't have to notify the LL at all - see the M2M section in the forum's reference section).

The broker's question in front of the LL is meaningless. All terms and rules must be in writing, usually in the lease or contract, but in some cases can be posted as House Rules. And actually rules regarding guests and SO are mostly unenforceable ... and might even violate the roommate law that says you can have roommates and it's none of the LL's business as to the nature of the relationship.

Landlords do have the right to have reasonable rules. For example no loud music at 3 AM is reasonable and should not even have to be posted, but other rules should be on a "House Rules" flyer if not in the lease.

You said the move-out was Dec. 31. Now you're saying it's Nov. 30. Which is it? You can always not move out and live-out the deposit. Legally the LL can't lock you out without a court order. (if the LL's tries, call the police). Possession is not returned to the LL until you hand over the keys, so you can live, sleep or store things there until you legally leave.

For the heat, call 311 now. Check to see if the building is registered with HPD (ask 311). For 3+ units, it must be. And you can always ask the LL to turn on the heat no matter what time it is. :? If you're freezing, I would knock in the LL's door.

You can deal with the brokerage fee later. Generally the Attorney General's office handles that. Deposits are also handled by the Att. General or in Small Claims Court.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9247
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: Deceptive landlord/broker?

Postby pen6cil » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:26 am

Is this a real apartment, separate from the rest if the house? Or is it more like a rooming house situation?-----Three family home, all separate apartments.

Did all three of you come as a package, knowing each other before moving in? ----Came as a package of 3

Do you each pay rent to the LL, or combine the money first and pay in one check?----We pay the rent with one check

On the new rules, are/were they in writing?-----New rules were never in writing, all came after we moved in.

Given to each of you, posted, mailed, or oral notification?----Orally after we moved in


Was the broker paid?-----Broker was paid at the time we paid the security deposit


For your move-out, did you notify the LL?------WE notified the landlord verbally we were moving out by December 1st on Oct 31

How, in writing?---- verbally

How soon in advance?---Verbally at least 30 days in advance on October 31.

She is claiming she knew nothing about us moving out. We do know the broker knows when we contacted them regarding the rules we were not told of, and when we asked to find us another place, which is exactly the same time we told landlord we were leaving.


Once we hand back the keys tomorrow, what would be a reasonable amount of time to wait for our despot be? And once we pass this reasonable amount of time and do not receive our deposit it is then we go to small claims court, and also file a claim separate for the broker fee?

Thanks again
pen6cil
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:41 am

Re: Deceptive landlord/broker?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:51 am

First, look at the M2M post in the Forum's Reference section. You will see in NYC there's no requirement for advance notice. http://tenant.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5024. While the LL must give notice in writing, the same does not hold for the tenant.

However whenever you leave - you should have a walkthrough with the LL so there can be no dispute overe any damages. LL's like this often coome up with fake damage claims. Have a witness and take MANY photos showing any defects. (you should have done that when you moved in as well).

At this point, your real questions have to do with the deposit and broker fee. By moving out now, you have no real leverage over the LL, other than going to the AG's office or Small Claims Court.

By not returning keys, you will still have leverage. But be aware the LL might change the locks. See the Illegal Eviction post in the Reference Section. I would leave something there (nothing valuable) so as to claim you haven't fully moved out. The downside is that while this might put pressure on the LL, the LL will have a legal claim For December's rent.

Usually it's reasonable to wait 30 days for the deposit, or for the LL to make claims of damages. That's why you want a walk-through.

You can go to the AG's office or small claims court at any time, but I would wait 30 days, and write a letter to the LL demanding the deposit.

I don't know the law on getting refunds from brokers, but perhaps the AG's office might have that information. If not, then you might have to go to court for that. But see if the broker will refund it or come to a settlement.

Small LLs like this often think they are not bound by any laws. So I would prepare to play hardball - as long as what you do is legal - there's a lot you can do.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9247
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City


Return to NYC Non-Regulated Apartments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests