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Should I sue landlord and if so can I make landlord pay for attorney fees ?

Staten Island, NY |

I have been at the same residence for 21 yrs In nyc .We had a verbal agreement month to month with one person who passed away and was passed to his son who lives up stairs from me. He has gone threw break downs and drug abuse in the past but recently he went nuts on another tenant with false claims . Police came multiple times and he was taken to hospital once.Then he started with us saying we haven't paid rent ( which we pay cash and landlord doesn't give a receipt. I do have ATM withdrawal receipts ) he would bang and scream at our door till finally he chased my niece and her farther with a shovel cops arrested him and he was out the same night he then harassed us 3 days later police came and paramedics came and he was evaluated And released . I want to leave ASAP but can't get out quick enough im scared and feel unsafe in my own home what should I do !! ?? Thank you -

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Attorney answers 3


If you are a month-to-month tenant, then you are free to terminate the tenancy, but you must do so with proper notice. Speak to a landlord-tenant attorney about your concerns. You do have a way out. If you feel threatened in any way, call the police.


Dear Staten Island Tenant:

You need a real attorney standing with you to protect your 21 year tenancy, instead of you packing up and running because your landlord is experiencing an episode of mental instability. The circumstances surrounding the current episode will abate, with proper medical treatment and so should not cost you your home.

If you have lived in the same house for 21 years without a lease, then the housing must otherwise suit your needs. Of course, you would have better protection with a lease, and a landlord must provide a written receipt to a tenant for rent paid in cash, and even when not, if the tenant demands a receipt.

There are no attorney fees available without a written lease that itself provides for attorney fees to be paid to the prevailing party in a housing court matter and only when so awarded to the prevailing party by a judge.

In New York City a month to month tenant does not have a statutory obligation to provide notice to the landlord. All the tenant need do is pay the last month rent and move (outside NYC either the landlord may terminate the month to month tenancy with a one month notice to the tenant, or the tenant may do so with a one month notice to the landlord; no statutory obligation exists in NYC)

Yes. You need a lawyer. No lawyer answering in AVVO is providing to you legal advice as that only may be provided in an attorney and client relation.

So. See an attorney.

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.


Both of my colleagues -- well respected in this area of law -- provide sound advice. Please contact an attorney in your area asap.

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.

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