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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 118649
Experience:  Attorney with over 24 years experience.
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Tina, I want to break my lease and my landlord says he will

Customer Question

Hi Tina, I want to break my lease and my landlord says he will withhold my security deposit.
JA: When we are ready I'll take you to the appropriate web page.
Customer: I never received any signed lease although I have been asking for one since I signed the paperword in October. I have asked with certified letters every month, email, phone calls, and went to the office where there was noone.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: New York City
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: I signed but never received any copies so I don't know if the landlord has signed.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: There is a guy subletting an apartment in my building who visited my apartment as he said he was interested and tried to kiss me and corner me in my own apartment. This makes me very uncomfortable now. So instead of moving out end of August I would like to move out asap.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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.
In NYC, the landlord is supposed to provide the tenant with a copy of the signed lease, failure to do so is grounds to file a complaint with the housing authority. Also, if there is a tenant that is posing a threat to you that needs to be reported to the landlord to take action first, before you can claim he is not keeping a safe premises with safe tenants, since the landlord is liable for tenant's following rules of conduct. So you need to put him on notice in writing regarding these issues (all of them, even though you have asked for the copy of the lease before) and tell him that his failure to act is a breach of the lease and that would be grounds for you to terminate the lease without penalty.
THEN if he still refuses, you can breach the lease, BUT you would have to go to court and sue him for return of your security deposit if he refuses and present the evidence of his conduct to the court to order him to return your deposit.
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Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hi,thank you for your response. I have written a letter to my landlord and I have trouble understanding what was his obligation in returning a copy of the signed lease. Is it correct to say that this lease was never "acted on" as a result? (that's what the French law would say). Should I actually mention that I renegate the lease?Thank you for your help!
Best regards,
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

Under the NYC law, failure to provide a copy of the lease to the tenant it is grounds to argue there is no lease and that the lease should be voided. See:

You would say that the lease was never executed if he did not return a copy of the executed lease to you.