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Old 04-24-2009, 08:37 AM
 
90 posts, read 408,156 times
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I got a notice from Con Ed about a month ago saying that my landlord owed tens of thousands of dollars for a past due bill and security deposit. They said that if it wasn't paid by April 20, they would shut down the power in the common areas (power within the tenants' apartments wouldn't be affected). The tenants had the option to organize and pay bills for the common areas after April 20 and the note said we could deduct what we pay from rent under New York Real Property law.

I immediately called the landlord up and he said that it was just a mix up and they were taking care of it. I believed him and just let it go.

Fast forward to yesterday when I (and the other tenants in the building, of course) get another letter from Con Ed, saying that the bill still hasn't been paid and that they are proceeding to shut power down. They reiterate that we can organize and pay the bills going forward. I called up the landlord again and he said the same thing he did last time.

So far, they haven't actually shut the common area power down. But if they do, what are my options? I'd rather just get a new place than organize the dozens of tenants in the building to jointly pay the electricity bill. Does his failure to pay qualify as breaking the lease? Anyone with experience in this situation? Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
9,115 posts, read 22,747,067 times
Reputation: 7460
First of all you now know that you can't trust what the landlord is telling you.
Secondly,what else is he not paying ? Mortgage ? Taxes ? Better start finding out because the Con Ed situation could be just the beginning of your problems.Not that you are financially responsible but he could be going down the tubes.
I think his failure to pay probably does qualify as a breach of the lease but only a lawyer can tell you for sure.
Have you called the city yet ? I would do that immediately.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,048 posts, read 32,999,528 times
Reputation: 10573
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedog2 View Post
Have you called the city yet ? I would do that immediately.
This is some good, solid advice. On the occasions when I had to do something about a landlord, I went straight to the Housing Department. For the last 20 years or so, judges have been showing a distinct inclination to side with tenants in disputes.

I wouldn't think you and your neighbors should have any problem demonstrating to the city (or a judge, if you wind up having to take it that far) that any misunderstanding with Con Ed is a direct result of your landlord's negligence/game playing/harassment/whatever you want to call it.
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