Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.
Good morning. You are not without recourse. The landlord doesn't get to make up the law to suit themselves. If the landlord will not voluntarily reimburse you, you should file a small claims case against the landlord...you can do this without a lawyer very easily. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead
property to satisfy the judgment.
With regard to the landlord trying to terminate your lease due to this, the NY attorney general (http://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Tenant_Rights_2011.pdf) provides that: "Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating
against tenants who exercise their rights. For example, landlords may not seek to evict tenants solely because tenants (a)
make good faith complaints to a government agency regarding violations of any health or safety laws; (b) take good faith
actions to protect their rights under the lease; or (c) participate in tenant organizations. Tenants may collect damages
from landlords who violate this law, which applies to all rentals
except owner-occupied dwellings with fewer than four units. Real Property
Law § 223-b."
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