TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Managing agent threatening bad reference

Rights for non-regulated tenants

Moderator: TenantNet

Managing agent threatening bad reference

Postby Juletta » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:43 pm

We have been in our apartment nearly 2 years. We have been model tenants--paid rent early every month, asked for very few repairs (of things that were incorrectly installed in the renovations prior to our tenancy), broke nothing, caused no damage, made no noise, etc. etc.

We have an anonymous absentee landlord--we are not permitted to even know his name--and go through a big NYC management firm. One guy there, in particular.

We rented at the height of the market, and now rents have fallen considerably in our area. Our lease is up for renewal, and we said we'd stay if they would decrease our rent to meet the market. No reply. Re-sent 10 days later, got "The landlord is not interested in decreasing the rent. We understand your need to move."

Then the elevator went out--for 10 days so far--and we live on the 6th floor and also can't access the laundry without it. The power went out several times over a few weeks. Our living room radiator started spewing water. And etc.--all of a sudden several pretty big problems requiring emails to the managing agent. None were answered.

Now we need a reference letter in order to get a new apartment, and the managing agent told my husband that--despite paying on time, and no complaints of any kind for 22 months--that they will give us a bad reference because I have been so "difficult" in the past 2 weeks.

Is that even legal? Isn't the reference supposed to be based on our payment, maintenance of the unit, and following of the building rules? Can they give us a bad reference because we requested a rent decrease, and have emailed complaints about the lack of elevator, electricity, and heat?

He also intimated that because of my "difficult" behavior we shouldn't hold our breath about getting back our full security deposit, either.

How do I pre-empt this behavior?
Juletta
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:18 pm

Postby TenantNet » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:11 pm

There is no law, rule or regulation that requires a landlord to give you a letter of reference, good, bad or otherwise.

You can always find out who owns the building by checking NYC Dept. of Finance (Acris database).

Some LLs might lower the rent; some might not.

They're dicking with you; OTOH, your expectations might be high.
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: 9238
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Postby Juletta » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:28 pm

I think you're missing the point.

I know they are not required to give me a letter. My question is, can they write that we are bad tenants when we've actually been model tenants, just because the landlord was insulted by our requesting a rent reduction? Aka make personal, non-fact-based commentary, or out and out lies?

As for expectations, we've found tons of great places much cheaper...the rent was really out of control...just waiting on that landlord letter to complete an application on our first choice.
Juletta
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:18 pm

Postby Cranky Tenant » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:48 pm

You could sue him for defamation. You might even win if you can prove you were rejected solely because he gave you a negative reference. Of course he'd have to be a real jerk to put something like that in writing and let you know about it. More likely this is his way of telling you he's going to ignore your request entirely.
I'm a cranky tenant NOT a cranky lawyer.
Cranky Tenant
 
Posts: 1791
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Manhattan

Postby TenantNet » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:32 pm

This doesn't really fall into a defamation context, which is usually (although not always) a public statement. Here it would be a private letter, and more importantly, it's at the request of the tenant, not something the LL would be issuing on his own. In many instances a letter of reference would be given to the tenant addressed "to whom it may concern," so it's up to the tenant to decide whom to give it to, if anyone.

More over, assuming the landlord had some smarts, it could be written as his opinion, and that's not the same thing as making a false statement.

They can say you were snippy, demanding, whiny, not grateful and so on. All that's opinion. And who decides who is a model tenant? I think I'm a model tenant, but I'm pretty certain my LL would have a different view.

And I didn't miss the point, certainly they can write whatever they want. They could say you're an ax murderer, but it's up to you to decide whether to pass it along to a prospective new landlord.

Maybe, in some scheme of things, even if it were actionable, your goal is to find a new place, not get tied up in court, right?
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: 9238
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 1 guest