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Bed bug/robbery situation, what are our rights?

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Bed bug/robbery situation, what are our rights?

Postby littlepandemonia » Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:46 pm

Hello!

I have a bit of a complicated situation, and we are not entirely sure what we are able to do at this point. So my boyfriend and I moved to Brooklyn this past August from the West Coast. The landlord of the apartment complex basically required the same amount of paperwork one needs to adopt a child, but, whatever, I was prepared. So we move in to discover:
a) the apartment was never cleaned. Not at all. Not even the toilet was given a cursory wipe down. It was absolutely filthy, smelled like smoke, there were empty beer bottles on top of all the cabinets in the kitchen, etc. It was gross. I took photos, kept receipts of stuff we bought for cleaning, and told the landlord. He basically just shrugged me off and tried telling me in compensation we didnt have to clean when we left. REFUSED to give this to me in writing. Great.
b) we moved in above anywhere from 6 to 10 teenage boys living in a two bedroom apartment. How they got into the apartment and yet he was skeptical of our high combined income/credit scores, who knows. They play loud music all hours, yell/shout/wrestle, etc.

Fast forward to Christmas.
We got bed bugs! Great. And five days after that, we got robbed! They broke in through the fire escape and took both our laptops. We have video from the bodega across the street proving that one of the boys living below us was with the thieves, if not one of them. Unfortunately without finger prints it's very hard to place a burglar at the scene of the crime, so the detective doesnt have enough to arrest the boy on stolen property alone. So we are just living above people we know robbed us, basically, and there's nothing we can do about it. The landlord assures me he's trying to evict them, but we all know how long that can go on for. I do not feel safe at all when I am at home anymore.

Fast forward to this week. We STILL have bed bugs. The exterminators have come four times. I have spoken to the landlord, from the very beginning, that he needs to get the apartments around us inspected. We have followed every bed bug rule to the T. We threw away wood furniture. All our belongings are in bags. We bought a mattress encasement, a metal bed frame and we isolated the bed. I'm at a loss to where they could be hiding. But he claims no one else has complained to him about bed bugs, so why should he pay to get these apartments inspected? Oh and all this while, insinuating that I'm just bringing bed bugs back from work with me every time and that "bed bugs don't spread between apartments like that" (?! is he crazy?!) My apartment complex is ancient and porous, the baseboards are uneven and full of gaps, the wood floors have holes everywhere and half of them arent even attached anymore, there are huge gaps around the pipes in the bathroom and kitchen. And before anybody suggests the super fixing all of this, he is like an absentee father. When he does finally come to fix something, he often does it so poorly he makes the situation worse.

Yesterday we reported our landlord to 311 because I CAN'T. LIVE. LIKE THIS. They are coming to do their own inspection of the building.

So here is where I need advice. What rights do we have as tenants at this point? Do we have a case to get him to forgive our lease? I don't feel safe and it's been over a month and a half of bed bugs. We paid 1st, last and a deposit equal to a month's rent. Also, how do I get that entire deposit back? Because I know he is going to try and keep it, even though if anything we will be leaving the apartment in better condition than when we moved in. I am a full time student and I also work full time, so I am trying everything to not have to go to court because the stress of it all might just kill me. I've never had such a poor relationship with my landlord before, I generally try to be a good tenant and I understand they are working a job like anybody else. But we are living like we are camping, I'm afraid of getting robbed again and he basically just shrugs his shoulders at me every time and somehow responsibility rolls off him like water on oil. What do we do?!

Thank you SO much for reading all of this and any help you can offer.
littlepandemonia
 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:24 pm

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