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Old 03-16-2011, 12:54 PM
1 posts, read 1,445 times
Reputation: 10


We have been trying to get repairs done in our apartment since Oct '10, including getting the heat fixed in my baby's room (which we eventually moved him into our room so that he wouldn't freeze). We've left several messages with the manager and sent messages with our rent check with no response.
I finally withheld our rent check this month knowing someone would call looking for it. They did, March 13th. I called back and left a message. On March 15th, he left a message threatening to take legal action in 24 hours if we do not respond.
My question is this; can he threaten legal action to be taken in 24 hours, for rent 15 days late? and what kind of legal action can he take? Or is this an open threat?
Of course I called and went over every thing that needed to be fixed and went over my phone records showing him all the times I requested repairs. He said we never called and he did not know of the repairs. I sent the check out. But I want to know if he can actually threaten me in this way?
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:40 PM
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Reputation: 4066
Of course he can threaten you and, yes, he can take legal action. When you made your complaints, you should have done so IN WRITING and sent it certified/return receipt or by email. You simply called and put a note in w/your rent check. You have no proof that you made any specific complaints.

Just give him the March rent but also send him a letter (and of course keep a copy) outlining the repairs that are needed and the dates/times you called him for the repairs and that you sent a note with your last rent check. Make sure to say that he never responded and no repairs have been done. Send the letter CERTIFIED MAIL/RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. He will have to sign for the letter.
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Old 03-16-2011, 01:48 PM
9,278 posts, read 9,228,173 times
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Originally Posted by omigawd View Post
When you made your complaints, you should have done so IN WRITING

Thank you, Omigawd, for the reminder that everyone needs, that in this day and age of voice-mail and texting, serious matters are still best done by letters, with a paper trail.

Pisugani, never withhold rent. In your case, your landlord sounds like a lunatic, because for a 15-day delay, the most that a sane landlord would do would be to charge you a small late penalty. However, for things so basic as heat, this is something that the city can fight for you, since there are regulations governing that.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:06 PM
982 posts, read 3,966,081 times
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Like the above say. Send a cert. letter detailing the repairs. You can withhold rent if they are not done in a "reasonable time", but you need the paper trail.
The only "legal action" he can initiate is the beginning of an eviction for nonpayment. You would receive a 3 day notice demanding the rent in about a week at worse. It is not worth doing this because as soon as you pay the rent the action is dismissed. Only a chronic non payer and bouncer of checks would face termination, even then a judge would stay the warrant and give the bum a schedule for making up the past due rent.

Don't loose sleep over this but pay the current rent and start the paper trail.

further reading:
NYC Rent Guidelines Board

Regarding the heat problem: You need to keep a diary of sorts with contemporaneous temperature records to prove heat problems. It greatly helps to have another tenant doing the same thing
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:17 PM
5,545 posts, read 1,810,547 times
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Document everything in writing from here on out (do not talk over the phone to your LL, only in writing), sending documents via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Also, it is illegal for your LL not to provide you with proper heat. Here are the proper heat and hot water requirements for your residence year-round in NYC. File a complaint online with NYC 311 and appropriate action will be taken.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:49 PM
123 posts, read 228,960 times
Reputation: 214
Yes, I second what everyone's been saying. If it's true that your baby's room is not heated, we have something in the law that is called "constructive eviction," which means your landlord has made the place so uninhabitable that he is de facto evicting you.

Ha, here is something I picked up though: someone who threatens to file a lawsuit is someone who is not going to file a lawsuit. It just doesn't make sense. If I was going to file a suit against you, I would write you a letter expressing where you have gone wrong and how the law does not allow for that. Then, if you did not respond, I would just file the lawsuit. People tend to react a bit more quickly when they receive a summons and complaint rather than a "threat." So you are probably in the clear for now.

But yeah, ix-nay on the telephone calls and get everything in writing, whether it's email or certified letter. If you do have a phone convo with the guy, immediately write him an email "memorializing the telephone conversation of [date] at [time]." To add a little kick to the email, you might CC it to any lawyer friend you may have, so that your landlord will see that your correspondence is all being viewed by johndoe@geniuslawyers.com. Good luck.
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