Should I sue my landlord?
September 7, 2012 2:21 PM Subscribe
Lease break legal-filter. Former landlord's making ridiculous security deposit deductions and backing out on a written agreement to refund pro-rated rent after asking me to move out early for a new tenant. Is this worth going to court about?
posted by anonymous to law & government (13 answers total)
I requested to sublet or assign my NYC lease earlier this year. Landlord responded that I can't do either but they would allow me to find a replacement tenant. I found a replacement tenant acceptable to the landlord. LL asked me to move out earlier than I had considered moving out in order to make repairs and clean so that new tenant could move in at her convenience, and told me that they would pro-rate the rent I had already paid for the month as of the move-out date they requested.
I moved out early at their express written request (they asked for me to leave the keys, they picked up keys, etc) left the apartment in better-than-broom-clean condition (floors and baseboards scrubbed, insides of kitchen appliances spotless, etc). Only damages were minor picture holes in the wall and normal wear-and-tear scuffs to the paint. I have pictures showing the apartment on move-out day. Now, after I requested that they refund me the amount due back (security deposit, prepaid last month's rent, and the pro-rated amount of my ACTUAL last month's rent) they are trying to get me on the hook for THOUSANDS of $ worth of repairs (redoing floors, regrouting tile, repairing things that weren't broken, etc) and claiming that this is what it cost them to re-rent the apartment to the new tenant. They're also refusing to pay the pro-rated rent as of the day they asked me to move out. The cherry on top is that when I request proof of damages and inform them that I have photos and will pursue my legal rights, they are threatening to sue me for breaking the lease (for what, I don't know, because they have a new tenant and no missed rent).
What's the best way to pursue this? If I don't go after them, I'll be out upwards of $5k, so it seems to make sense, but I'm not sure how to go about it. A previous question mentioned the Attorney General's office, but that they won't help you if you're getting legal representation. Is this something I should go to the AG's office about first, or should I just go for a lawyer? Which of the landlord's claims are reasonable and which are just those of a slimeball trying to get his grubby hands on whatever he can?
Throwaway at firstname.lastname@example.org. IKYANAL, but it would help to better understand if it's worth spending the money to get a lawyer and pursue this further. If anyone can suggest an NYC tenant's rights lawyer (I hear Catharine Grad is good) I'd appreciate that, too.