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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  Attorney
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I was a tenant under lease from 12/2014 until 04/2015. I stayed

Customer Question

I was a tenant under lease from 12/2014 until 04/2015. I stayed an extra week 5/01 until 05/07/2015. I offered to pay for 1 week and now the landlord wants much more. Am I responsible if no additional lease was signed or agreed to.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
What state are you in?
Did the landlord agree in advance that you could stay through 5/7? And if so, did you get that in writing?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
New York. No, only verbally after he told me to get out by the end of April and I told him we couldn't.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm not even sure if it is a legal 2 family home. He rented the downstairs to some one else.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but under New York law, a tenant who overstays a lease is liable for DOUBLE the rent for those extra days. N.Y. Real Prop. Laws and Rules, Section 232-c. That's what he'll get if he sues you. There is never a legal right to stay even a single day beyond when the lease ends without the landlord's consent.
If the landlord had a new tenant prepared to move in on May 1 and that tenant couldn't move in because you were still there, then you're also reasonable for any costs the landlord incurred as a result of the place not being available.
You have the option of trying to reach an agreement to avoid a lawsuit for double the rent. That could mean paying less or paying in installments until the debt is gone. The only other option is to talk to a bankruptcy attorney about whether you may be able to discharge the debt, or let the landlord get a judgment and see if he's able to collect it. New York law says that a person with a judgment against you can garnish 10% of your wages from each paycheck.
If you wind up in court, the judge isn't allowed to consider why you couldn't move, or what your financial situation is, or any of the things that made you decide to stay - he's only allowed to look at when the lease ended and when you actually left.
He's not entitled to rent if the property isn't a legal rental unit. That may be your best option in this situation, so call the city to find out if there's a certificate of occupancy. You'd also be able to countersue for conditions in the any conditions in the property that presented a danger to your health and safety. That might help reduce what you'd otherwise have to pay the landlord.
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