Posted by David on November 15, 2000 at 23:47:48:
In Reply to: Re: illegal sublet - NEED more facts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! posted by ricard on November 15, 2000 at 06:47:53:
Hey Richard. Thanks for the reply. The story is so twisted I tried to abbreviate and guess left some things unclear. I have never rented in NYC before... native Texan. We've never even heard of a sublease there... no need. The connection is through a friend. An introduction of two people who could (it was thought) benefit from each other. Turns out one of us was benefiting greatly and illegally. I would have never known it was illegal except the paperwork for the rent stabilization was slipped under the door one day. I still didn't know what it all meant. But, did the research and found something was up. So, I asked for an explanation: 4 months of lies and, finally, the legal threat followed. All this happened via registered US mail and primarily e-mail (so all fully documented) as the over tenant, Lynn, was trekking in India. Financed by my roommate and I.
Here's the really good part. (I'll never trust anyone again.) When I was still in Houston she called and said she didn't have time to do everything she should and some paperwork for the apt. wasn't all complete. Could she fax me a blank sub-lease for my temporary signature just to show the landlord she was trying to fulfill her obligation and then leave an original copy for me later for a legitimate signature? I said sure... I had never even known there was such thing as real sub-lease and trusted her, simply because I used to be in the habit generally trusting people first. Now, it's strictly guilty until proven innocent. Of course, the first thing I began asking for when I became suspicious was this supposed sub-lease... it never, and still hasn't, materialized though she has refered to this sub-lease in her lying responses to my questions and accusations. I even asked the original landlord if I could have a copy for my records in an attempt to gather information without possibly wrongly implicating Lynn (I didn't know at the time what was really going on.) At the beginning of the conversation he had the sub-lease. By the end, after I had to tell him why I really wanted it, he said people like me "disgusted him, doing this sort of thing over a little bit of money" and said he had lost the sublease and couldn't find it. I do have a copy of a sublease for the same period of time signed soley by my roommate. (Who is just as underhanded and pathetic as Lynn... after this all started on a legal course, he accepted money from her to cover up the illegal discrepancy... something my lawyer says works greatly against my case though it was a primary concern of mine which I asked him point blank about in our first meeting and he assured one isn't able to "make amends" after you've broken the law. That's seems to be a different case now 5 months later and she's now threatening to sue me because of it. But says, She'll drop hers if I'll drop mine. Which after many arguments with the lawyer and threatening him with the BAR's disciplinary committee I a have finally acquiesced to accept out of frustration.)
Oh man. I get really carried away with this, it's so complicated and ridiculous. I'm going to end up getting completely screwed it seems for being a responsible, law abiding citizen. There' a lot more, but I'll stick to your specific questions.
The legal rent as far I understand from the DHCR (or whatever) and other documents I have is $1046.93. (The legal controlled amount is 997.08) My roommate and I were being charged $1370. It wasn't cash, per the sub-lease (the one I never got my completed copy of [funny that I wouldn't seeing as it has a place for the allowed rent on it... what an incredible coincidence]) the under tenants are not to have direct contact with landlord. So her sister received checks from Tristan and I and then made the payment to the landlord. I have copies of the checks. The minute I found out it was illegal I confronted her to come to a personal solution. When it became clear that wasn't going to happen, I went to a lawyer, took out renters insurance, and put a lock on my bedroom door.
Your comparison of litigation to chess is perfect. This is sucking the life out me, consuming all my spare time, and changing my personality. At the same time, it is occasionally an exciting challenge... except losing when you know your right isn't exciting and I can see that's where this headed. There are too many variables out of my control. I don't have time to check up on the lawyer every second and feel certain he's not doing everything he can. And I seem to have no rights or reward for trying to do the right thing. The principle is particularly important to me because my profession is architecture and I have studied and promoted and worked on affordable housing issues. Lynn's friends have said I was disgusting for taking her to court and that it's people like me that will put an end to rent control. My response: "I'm glad all kinds of people benefit from rent control. If you're that fortunate, good for you. But, it wasn't put in place so the middle class bourgeois, myself included, could make money off it to spend a year in India expanding our world view, a semester at the Sorbonne, or (as was ludicrously put before me) to travel the world to inspire our artistic side. I asked them for one example of a lower class family of seven living in a rent controlled apt. then sublet to make a profit to allow them to pursue such interests. OK then, how 'bout a similar family of four?" They couldn't come up with any. Funny how easy it is to shut the self righteous up. As far as I'm concerned, if your so fortunate to have a rent controlled apt. and then take advantage of it... and be proud of it, your a menace to society, not to mention a selfish pig.
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