I found out in Sept. 2014 that the apt I lived in for 3 years has no valid C of O and is therefore illegal. I notified the LL's that I would be withholding rent (as per instructions by NYC Housing Court) into an "escrow" account until they cured this issue. Flash-forward to today...6/30/15. They have not cured it, and because I don't want to deal with it anymore, have found a new apt. I am moving out in 19 days. All other tenants in the building are doing the same. However, the LL is refusing to give back the security deposit. It is my understanding that the lease is an illegal contract due to the lack of C of O, and therefore is null and void. Hence, the security deposit should be returned. Is this correct?
Dear Brooklyn Tenant:
Your landlord is a "criminal". Why are you surprised that he also stole your security trust money when he stole your "rent" after leasing an illegal apartment?
Is there a pending Housing Court case (as "per instructions") with a court order to legalize the illegal dwelling? If so, you need to gain an order from the court to release to you the rent money you paid into an escrow account.
I have forty years experience in the specialty of Housing Law and Tenant's Rights advocacy. The answer I provided to you does not create an attorney and client relation. You are free to check my office contact information at my AVVO profile. The answer offered is in the nature of general information, and should not be considered as tailored legal advice. I offer answers as a service to the community with my firm belief that you should try gain a good outcome for your legal issue and to avoid a bad outcome if you can.
What has happened to the escrowed rent? Does that revert to you? Maybe you can seek your SD from that. And, please know that even if you have in hand a judgment for the return of your security deposit, it is just a piece of paper. You have to turn it into money and that is not easy. This is a matter of State law. I would strongly suggest that you consult with a local attorney (perhaps selected from the AVVO website resources) with experience in this area of law, to offer a free initial consultation and perhaps assist with the process. If this information was helpful to you, even if you do not like or agree with the advice, please let me know by clicking on the “Helpful” or “Best Answer” button. Good luck!
This information is provided as general guidance only, not actual legal advice. I have not reviewed your paperwork, and I may not be licensed practice law in your state. The fine points of your question are often found in the laws of your State. So, this response is not intended to be legal advice and you should rely on this information only to give you some idea of what you should do.
Both attorneys have given you excellent advice. If you need further assistance, you can use the Find A Lawyer function on the top of the page. Good luck!
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