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landlord threatening to send me to collections

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landlord threatening to send me to collections

Postby jengrowsinbklyn » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:00 pm

For the past 3 years, I've lived in an apartment that is:
- a 4 BR duplex with a legal upstairs and an illegally constructed basement level where half the bedrooms are. It's illegal bc it's more than half below ground and contains rooms intended as bedrooms that have no alternate egress in case of fire.
- almost definitely an illegally de-stabilized place, judging by looking at the rent history, although the destabilization happened more than 4 years ago, so I can't straight up sue the bastard for back rent.

It is now my last month in the apartment and the LL is threatening to send me to collections because I requested to use my security deposit as my last month's rent. Yes, I know that this is not the intended purpose of a deposit, but it is also an incredibly common practice in NYC. I don't trust this guy one bit, and am afraid I will have to take him to court to get my deposit back if we don't use it as rent.

So, I have a few questions about being sent to collections, and about suing a LL to get a deposit back.

1) Can a landlord send you to collections when the apartment you're living in has open DOB violations - ones that indicate the apartment is not a legal dwelling? Will this come up, or does he just have to produce a copy of my lease and say that no rent was received for one month?

2) Does the fact that he still has my freaking security deposit play any role? Would a judge ever deny him because he still has my deposit, which is equal to the rent?

3) If we do pay the last month's rent, and then have to sue him to get the deposit back, can my lawyer attempt to sue for back rent for the (more than 4 years old) illegal destabilization as well?

Thank you much for any insights. I do have the name of a great tenant-only lawyer I can call; I just can't afford to put him into action unless it's likely we can get some back rent out of my shady landlord.
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Postby ronin » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:40 am

Your LL is nuts.

If you wanted you could simply refuse to leave and refuse to pay at all. And he would have to remove you with an action in Supreme Court.

Just let him know that if you feel like he's going to send you to collections you'll report his illegal death trap!

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