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Re: roomate is also landlord, and taking advantage of power disymmetry

Posted by mc on December 26, 2000 at 17:35:02:

In Reply to: roomate is also landlord, and taking advantage of power disymmetry posted by rita on December 24, 2000 at 22:17:17:

: I am a month to month rentert living in a room of someone else's apartment; I did not know this person owned the apartment when I moved in, but thought she I'm not from NY so I don't have experience with people owning apartments. But it seems to me if she owns it, your legal relationship is that you're the tenant. If she rents and her name is on the lease (or has an oral agreement with the owner), then you're the subtenant. The legal responsibilties of a tenant-subtenant relationship are similar to those of a regular LL/T (but not in all cases), e.g. a regular LL can't just lock you out & neither can she. Anyway, in answer to your questions, I wouldn't advise locking the guest out. I'm pretty sure that would be illegal, after all, she's entitled to have guests,just as you are, in the absence of any legal document to the contrary. Plus, it's non productive because it just makes your roommate (& the guest) mad & could make things even worse. I agree that it's inconsiderate at best. She may even be charging her "guest," but you'll probably never know & I guess that's her business. For prevention in future, or even now if it's not too late, I would have a conversation (or write a letter, thinking of documentation in case of future legal action in case the guest harms you or your belongings) stating your objections, being careful not to attack her as an idiotic boor forcoming up with this plan, rather stressing how you would feel uncomfortable with sharing your space with a complete stranger, leaving your belongings, etc. Maybe this would be the perfect excuse to put a lock on your bedroom door, ostensibly to keep out the guest but actually keeping out yr roommate too. By the way, in reference to a previous reply that said just ask her not to come in, people are either trustworthy or they're not. But a lot of roommates just can't resist the temptation to snoop. Maybe you could bring up the subject with her without actually accusing her by asking if she's had any company in that might have gone in your room, because you can tell that someone's been in there. And say that you know some people may not care about such a thing (ask her if it would bother her), but that yr privacy is very important to you. Another thought is that you have a "friend" come to stay while her guest is there, while you're away from home, or not. Preferably someone really boorish or obnoxious, so the friend doesn't feel at home & never wants to come back. I've had similar problems with my LL entering, and am considering getting a covert video camera, I think they're under $200. Anyway, try the nice approach at first, most people want people to like them & think well of them (and believe me I know there are plenty of exceptions). If you try a mean approach like locking out the friend, aside from being illegal, you run the risk of having yr roommate think of worse things to do to get you back, legal or not, such as spike yr food, etc. And I would advise not doing what I did, which was hide in my room, be all quiet when the roommates were home, letting them have the run of the place. At least while the guest is there, assert your presence: play music (not loud), make breakfast, have a couple of peple over to dinner, sing in the shower, whatever you would do normally, but make the guest know that you're they're. If the guest leaves dirty dishes, ask him nicely to clean up. Maybe even have a friendly conversation with him. Sorry everybody if I went on too long. Hope this helps.

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