Have I made a tragic subletting error?
January 5, 2012 9:22 PM Subscribe
I'm worried I've entered into a completely unreasonable subletting agreement, and don't know how to get out or to solve the situation.
posted by good day merlock to human relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Asking for a friend:
(Using "landlord" or "subletter" to refer to the person who lives in one of the five bedrooms in my apartment, and has the lease on the apt.)
I'm subletting a room in an apartment in NYC. The person I am subletting from sublets 4 of the rooms in the 5-room apartment for 3-6 months at a time. When I moved in, I signed a lease for six months with 30 days notice (written by the person subletting the apartment) stating I would abide by the "rules of the apartment."
The two noted rules, when I moved in, were to try to cook only once or twice a week (although I would be given fridge and cupboard space), and to not be loud before 9 am or after 10 pm—neither of which I thought wouldn't be problems (and haven't been—I'm neither a cook nor a loud person). I knew it wouldn't be a "do whatever you want" sublet, but never expected this. Within two months of moving in, I have been reprimanded for the following infractions (all these sparked stern talking-tos, often accompanied by statements like "I'm very angry with you about this"):
Putting (unopened, sealed, precooked) sausage in the freezer to save for later use (it will "contaminate the ice cubes") and leaving jarred pasta sauce in the fridge for three days
Not checking to make sure the trash in the kitchen has been taken out in the morning, despite not stepping in the kitchen on my way to work (or ever really using the kitchen...)
Leaving a pot to soak in the sink after cooking (this was my first time cooking in the apartment, and I wanted to make sure the pot was super-clean 'cause it was the landlords—I realize this isn't always the best thing to do, but they were pissed that I left the pot to soak in the sink than on the stove—even though the entire kitchen is a mess, with dishes strewn everywhere, all the time).
Not double-checking to make sure toilet paper had been placed under the sink when the roll ran low.
The landlord also asked me to, as part of my utilities payment, go buy them groceries because they "weren't feeling that great." I felt really uncomfortable doing this.
They've instigated a stringent, twice-weekly rotating cleaning schedule that would make Cinderella queasy. (Think: Scrub ALL the things!)
They blew off the Bedbug Registry as a "scam" when I brought up concerns about bedbugs reported in our (large) apartment building. (Note: I have found no bedbugs, that is not a concern, but their nonchalance is.)
I'd been commuting to my job from CT and was eager to move into an apartment—and I went through two interviews with the person subletting, and felt like this would be a good match before I could make a permanent move with a friend in May. The subletter and I got along wonderfully in those two interviews, and I was really excited for the apartment and really love the location, the apartment, building and (until the past few weeks), the roommate.
However, I'm very disturbed by recent developments and kind of panicking at the idea of living here for another four and a half months. I think the subletter is using me (and possibly other tenants) as cleaners/errand people, and has absolutely absurd expectations as to cleanliness, etc. Are sublettees entitled to any rights under NY tenant law? Is there any chance of escaping with my last month's rent and deposit without the subletter witholding them? Or: Is there any hope of salvaging the situation? Am I being ridiculous?
I cannot afford a lawyer, and don't think the amount I would gain would be worthy of retaining one. I'm just interested to know if I have any rights in a subletting situation, and if these rules are acceptable or ridiculous.