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Old 07-25-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: New York
12 posts, read 31,549 times
Reputation: 12

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I'm sorry this is a long and complicated story but I REAAAALLLY need some advice!

My parents and I have been living in a 2 bedroom rent stabilized apartment for the last 8 years. I was away at college for 4 of those years but it remained my primary residence. My parents relocated last year and I had succession rights. At the same time that they moved away, I accepted an apprenticeship that involved me traveling a lot during the year. I decided to sublet the R.S.A. to my best friend (who was homeless and needed a place to stay) for the year and in the meantime I stored a lot of my stuff at my boyfriends house who had an extra room (I didn't sign a lease or a sublease with my boyfriend) As for my R.S.A- my best friend agreed to pay the full rent directly to the landlord every month b/c I wouldn't be around to do so. Then she asked if she could be placed on the lease. I didn't think twice because I didn't know subletting and having your name on the lease were mutually exclusive. Although now I realize that she probably did.

A few months later the landlord's office contacts me and says that there is a problem with our paperwork. I was told that the old lease was never legal because my friend had no right to sign it in the first place. The apartment is rent stabilized, she wasn't my significant other, she wasn't a family member, and didn't have succession rights. Furthermore she was on the lease but wasn't certified for the apartment and anybody over the age of 18 living in the apartment had to be certified. The compliance officer who had allowed us to put my best friend on the lease had been fired (for incorrectly filing paperwork, for having tenants sign blank documents and for not carrying out recertification process correctly and as a result the management office was being audited. The new compliance officer drew up a new lease contract and I signed it. I wrote out a letter saying I was subletting my apt to my friend until the end of the lease period and that I would be moving back in August. The compliance officer signed it and gave me permission to continue the sublet.

A couple months ago I went into the management office and renewed the lease for the next 2 years. I then told my best friend that I would be moving back in August and that I would appreciate it if she would begin looking for a new place. SHE REFUSED. She said she had changed the locks and thrown away furniture that my parents left me. She says her name is on the lease so I have no right to evict her. She's a co-tenant. I told her that her name is not on the lease and that even if the original lease was still valid, it ends soon and I have renewed for the next couple years alone. SHE STILL REFUSED. So I served her a 30 day termination order. She says she isn't leaving because she will win in court. ALSO SHE IS NOW SUING ME for unpaid rent although I never lived with her, never got a copy of the keys once she changed the locks, never had access to the apt after she moved in. We had a verbal agreement that she would pay the full rent and that she would leave in August. Now I am afraid that I will not be able to get her out. The management office refuses to get involved and have threatened to evict me if they are forced to. My ex friend knows this and says she believes that since she entered into a lease agreement with the landlord they are the only one who can kick her out. As far as my landlord is concerned, they never entered into a lease agreement with her, she has no right to be there, and it's my responsibility to get my subletter out.

Does she have a legal leg to stand on in either case?

Last edited by NewNYMeal; 07-25-2013 at 12:12 PM..
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:23 PM
 
1,319 posts, read 3,645,563 times
Reputation: 804
I'm not a legal professional so take this with grain of salt.

Whether she has a legal leg to stand on or not is a minor point because its more about the time and money sink you now have to worry about. Even if she doesn't have much of legal leg to stand on. NYC is very tenant friendly and it'll take time to get her out. In NYC, eviction isn't simple as hiring some one to replace the locks and toss her stuff out onto the street. It will cost you money and time one way or another. You need to live at a place while the case goes through system. If she knows the system and it sounds like she does, she can just drag this out long time as well. Plus winter is coming (3-4 mo from now) and if she happens to be pregnant and stuff like that. It can even go longer. NYC takes longer to evict folks who are elederly, pregnant, and don't evict during winter, etc.

It is a lose lose situation for you. If you want to find out what your options are. Best to consult a professional. Good luck.

On my personal note, stuff like this is why I want to see an overhaul of ruling on rent stabilization and control. They need to get rid of succession so people can't milk the system.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:31 PM
 
1,431 posts, read 2,182,125 times
Reputation: 1190
If the landlord signed a lease with her name on it, and accepted her rent checks, then she may indeed have a right to renew--even if the lease was offered to her completely by mistake.

Your interests and the landlord's are aligned in this case. That could help you, as a practical matter.

I don't understand why she changed the locks. Is she trying to keep you from moving back in? That won't work.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
2,377 posts, read 2,594,387 times
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How exactly is it not the landlords responsibility to get her out? They allowed for a cosign and then took her off.

If by "kicking you out" means voiding your lease and giving it to her... That might be your best route sadly.

Last edited by MikeNigh; 07-25-2013 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,187,701 times
Reputation: 3007
Quote:
Originally Posted by BinxBolling View Post
I don't understand why she changed the locks. Is she trying to keep you from moving back in? That won't work.
Indeed it will work. Having keys to the place in question is a good part of the legal battle.
The so-called subtenant stands a very good chance of being declared the default primary tenant, especially given that she has been in residence for more than 30 days and that the management knew about her.

"Primary residence" means precisely that - the tenant MUST live there, and demonstrably so.

The OP is an excellent example of someone who "played" rent regulation, the system, and is now seeing the downside of that. Moreover, the mentions of "certification" suggest something more than a merely stabilized place.

Anyone who thinks that the courts are now necessarily pro-tenant is deluding themselves.

These days, if faced with low-income tenants who will add to the homeless rolls in the city they are potentially pro-tenant. Everyone else ? The courts are moving in favor of development interests.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,187,701 times
Reputation: 3007
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
I'm not sure exactly how she thinks she is going to win in this scenario. Even if you just walked away she does not have a lease with the real landlord. So why would they continue renting to her? I would look into the options of being able to just walk away from this one. She is effectively squatting.
I was about to comment that people here REALLY need to educate themselves about the rent laws, then I saw ... you are from Philadelphia.

That's why your comment makes no sense at all.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:57 PM
 
Location: New York
12 posts, read 31,549 times
Reputation: 12
Why would she have a right to renew when it's a DHCR rent stabilized apartment? Isn't there a strict process for applying for these apartments- waitlists and applications and such?

Are you saying the landlord does not have the right to void an improper lease if there is a mistake?
Also the fact that she pays them directly shouldn't have any bearing if she's a subletter right? I mean my father paid my rent a couple times during college- does that give him the right to claim tenancy? The security deposit is in my name. The new lease is in my name and the old lease? Well I just don't know which lease the courts will honor.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:59 PM
 
2,503 posts, read 3,639,709 times
Reputation: 1907
Hahaha..I love this story. The original lease-holder screws the landlord by using the Rent Stabilization law to their advantage via succession rights and then the subleter screws the succession rights beneficiary lease-holder by using the Rent Stabilization law to their advantage to oust the other. Gotta love it! Thank you Rent Stabilization!
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:02 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,187,701 times
Reputation: 3007
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewNYMeal View Post
Why would she have a right to renew when it's a DHCR rent stabilized apartment? Isn't there a strict process for applying for these apartments- waitlists and applications and such?

Are you saying the landlord does not have the right to void an improper lease if there is a mistake?
Also the fact that she pays them directly shouldn't have any bearing if she's a subletter right? I mean my father paid my rent a couple times during college- does that give him the right to claim tenancy? The security deposit is in my name. The new lease is in my name and the old lease? Well I just don't know which lease the courts will honor.
If the OP "wins" anything at all it will be a true miscarriage of justice.
So many elderly people I know legitimately struggling with their landlords.
And this.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:02 PM
 
Location: New York
12 posts, read 31,549 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for your contempt and so called "advice" "Harlem Resident" but I have no idea what you mean by "playing the system." My lease says I have a right to sublet, I went through all the appropriate channels for subletting my apartment or at lease I thought I did. I am 22 years old and just out of college. I took a unpaid internship working on a documentary to build my resume. I had/have no money. How is this a miscarriage of justice if I don't lose my apt?

Now that I am trying to move back in I am being pushed out by a subletter/ ex friend. Can you explain what you mean by the courts are not pro-tenant?

Last edited by NewNYMeal; 07-25-2013 at 01:31 PM..
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