I started subletting a room on 1 May 2015 and paid a security deposit of one month's rent, as well as 1.5 month's rent since the rent is usually collected on the 15th. I next paid rent on 15 June 2015. About a week later, the landlord came to the apartment and told us that the tenant had chosen to cancel the lease, and that we (the subletters, there are three of us in total) had to leave. I have tried contacting the tenant about having my security deposit as well as that last month's rent returned, but have received no replies. What are my legal rights for pursuing the return of the security deposit and that month's rent, since it is between me, a subletter, and a tenant, not a landlord?
Dear New York Tenant:
You have the power to sue the tenant for the money wrongly retained by the tenant. If $5000 or less you may use Small Claims Court.
Of course, collecting a judgment may be difficult. The tenant was in business and making money from the occupants. None of the three could be subtenants since a subtenant does not share the apartment with anyone during the term of the sublease. Nor were the occupants considered roommates if the tenant did not live with you.
Since you have no contact with the tenant why are you certain the landlord truthfully reported the tenant cancelled the lease?
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