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Landlord refuses to reimburse me for unnecessary expenses incurred. Should I hire a lawyer?

New York, NY |

I moved to a newly renovated apt . My agent / broker notified me a day before move - in day that there will be no cooking gas for a few more days . Over the next 2 months , i learned that few inspections were needed and there was no gas meter . If i knew the facts , i would have waited with moving in . I asked landlord for rent reduction to reimburse me for 2 month's worth of additional costs incurred by eating out . They are refusing to do so claiming that the broker was aware of the situation and should have informed me before i signed a lease . The broker does not want to have anything to do with it . What should be my next step ? I don't want to lose the apt but i also believe that i should be compensated .

I did withheld rent for 1 month and now seeking an offset against the rent. Already paid the following month rent in full. Should I send a check for the difference? Can they still sue me for non-payment? Should I consult tenant attorney?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

The broker worked for the landlord. You can sue if you want.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Posted

You could bring suit in small claims court against the broker and the landlord but it will be an uphill battle. Other alternative is to withhold rent and wait for an action for non-payment then raise the lack of working appliances as a defense and seek an offset against the rent for the period. It may not be worth the effort.

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Posted

Dear I don't want to lose the apartment?

You cannot lose the apartment if you have moved in, and your lease protects your right to possession during the entire term of the lease. The landlord cannot try to take the apartment back from you without relying on a fault ground stated in the lease for exercising an earlier right to lease termination or by suing for rent nonpayment.

You had a right to working appliances and that is the landlord's responsibility not the broker's. Look at your lease for the promises made to you by the landlord.

Read more about your rights as a New York tenant at:

http://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Tenant_Rights_2011.pdf

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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Posted

You will not be successful deducting the cost of eating out for two months because you did not have gas for cooking. You may be entiitled to a small reduction in the rent for lack of cooking gas. The argument is that you could use a microwave, toaster oven or a hot plate. I would suggest you discuss it with the LL. The broker is correct it has nothing to do with the situation. Is this apt rent stabilized you could file a complaint with DHCR and have the rent frozen. This would be a L&T case not small claims.

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