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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 110506
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I had a 1 year lease that expired 2016. So I just paid my

Customer Question

Hello, I had a 1 year lease that expired I'm March 2016. So I just paid my landlady 900.00 month to month for a bedroom in her basement. I was allowed limited access to the rest of the apartment but only paid rent to live in bedroom in her basement. May 29th a friend closed on a house and offered to allow me to move in under his lease as a tenant, which his building was fine with. This left me no notice, I tried reaching out to my landlady the very next but she didn't return my calls or messages. On the 31st I contacted her again and explained the situation and the urgency of my leaving as I had to give my friend a yes or no that same day or the building would find other tenants. She was supportive and came downstairs to do a walk through with me. I told her I was leaving behind several large items and offer to take them outside to the curb. She declined saying she would be ticketed and that she would get her "crackhead" friend to either find someone who wanted it or take it out for 20.00 bucks. She even had another tenant come down and see if he wanted anything. After I had left that same day, (I couldn't give her June's rent and pay rent for the new place) she contacted me saying she couldn't show the apartment with everything in there. However the room wasn't filled with junk just a few furniture items, nor was the room damaged. When she first showed me the room she had a tenant living there, so I didn't believe her when she said it was able to be shown. After 20 days I contacted her about my deposit. She said because I didn't give her notice my deposit was forfeited and that she had to pay 150.00 dollars to clear out the room. Which is a lie, also she provided no receipt. She also said she kept a third due to loss of rent for June. However was willing to not penalize me and give me 300.00 back. She hasn't been the best landlord, when I explained in November the drainage was backed up causing the basement to smell of fecal matter, she didn't get the problem fixed until the spring. She provided no heat in the basement for the winter though she promised to put a heating unit in the room when I moved in. When I inquired why it wasn't done she said I failed to provide an electrician, therefore my child and myself spent the winter at my boyfriends apartment. When I complained about the cold, she covered the windows with plastic and told me I could only use one space heater but only when I used two did the room feel warm. She never provided me with a bank statement where my deposit was stored. And yesterday she claimed I did something with her microwave plate. I told her I hadn't but when she pressed, for the sake of peace I simply offered to either buy a plate for her or take it out of the deposit. She agreed to allow me to buy it. Today she texted me she only sent 250.00 because she wants to ensure I give her a microwave plate. She claims she has no idea what happened to it, for all I know she broke it to get more money. I want to know if possible I have case in small claims court, I am NYC. I want to know if legally she can do this. In the lease it does say I need to give her 30 day notice, before moving; but when I told her about the move she was fine with it, but said she was distracted because of some legal trouble her son had gotten into at a concert and couldn't think.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The issue is legally you were in breach of lease, which means she could attach the security deposit just for you leaving without giving 30 days notice. So even if you did not leave damage or she did not have to pay for the cleaning, she can claim that for your failure to give 30 day notice unless you can prove she waived the notice in writing. Just because she may have been verbally fine without the 30 day notice though does not mean she was not entitled to damages for you failing to give the 30 day notice, those are two different things and if she did not issue you a written release of the notice period, she would have a claim against you.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No the conversation was over the phone. Thank you so much!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, if she did not issue a written release of the notice requirement, she is going to have you on that for leaving without giving proper notice.

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