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Landlord selling home and would like me to move.

Posted by Julius at Rubicon on March 31, 2001 at 21:16:53:

In January of 2001, I moved into an apartment in one of the 5 boroughs of NYC. A verbal agreement between the landlord and myself stated that I was to stay for a minimum of six months, and could stay the full year, if I had so chosen.

Three weeks later, the landlord informs me that he is putting the house up for sale. He, nevertheless, maintains that the agreement that we entered into would still be valid, as he was not going to sell the house until the summer, at the earliest.

At this point, I found myself a bit concerned, for while he may not sell the house in the summer, he may, of course, sell it earlier. I, nevertheless, put such concerns aside and tried to accept that he would stand by the agreement that we entered into.

Two days later, after I had moved the major part of my belongings into the apartment, the landlord informs me that he has already received an offer, though on one condition: The prospective buyers would like for me to vacate the premises by April 1st. The landlord offered to give me February and March rent-free, in exchange for my leaving. He also offered to help pay for my moving expenses. I agreed, because at this point I no longer trusted the landlord, and felt it would be wiser to leave at a given date, than to risk having trouble come up whenever he sells the home, if not at that date.

Once again, the landlord wants to talk to me. This time, he informs me that the prospective buyers backed out. This leaves me wondering: Why are you telling me this? I did not sign on to have myself jerked around like a yo-yo. I listen to the landlord and he asks me what I would like to do, as he still plans on selling the house. I say that I would like to move according to the conditions that I had agreed to regarding moving by April 1st.

April 1st is here and while I can move, though I do not have another apartment, I would like to be compensated for my moving expenses. Now, since the verbal conditions that preceded my signing a rental agreement with the landlord stipulated that I could have the apartment for a minimum of six months, and since three months have already passed, and since I don't have an apartment for me to move into, I would like to be compensated for the expense of putting my belongings into storage for the remaining three months. Also, I would like to put these belongings in storage at the most convenient location for myself, which is a 24 hour Manhattan location.
Furthermore, I would like to be compensated for the transportation of my belongings to this storage location, and I would like to be compensated for moving those belongings from the storage facility when I do find an apartment.

I quoted a figure in the realm of $2000 that I would like to be granted to me by the landlord. The landlord refused, not realizing that this figure included money that would ordinarily due me, such as the security deposit. Furthermore, I was willing to negotiate as to come to an agreement that would be fair to both parties, since I am not trying to gouge the guy. I just don't want to not have to incur the costs that go along with moving--which serves to benefit him-- only to have to pay once again to find a place.

More information: this apartment is not rent-stabilized and is a two-family home. The written rental agreement did not state specifically the length of residency,, though, I have consulted the law and one states that when the rental agreement does not state the length of time for the tenant's stay, then it is to be considered up until the first day of October, which would make this agreement valid from January until October.

When I asked for expenses relating to moving, the landlord stated that the rental agreement didn't state how long the agreement was for, and that furthermore, it stated that one party may give the other party written notification of intention to vacate the premises 30 days prior to the date of vacancy. I inferred this to mean that he believes the rental agreement gives him the right to toss me out, which I do not believe it does, not without legal proceedings, and that he believes that the rental agreement is one that is month-to-month. Therefore, I believe that he is not to be trusted to even state publicly the truth: that is, the tenancy was to be for six months minimum under the original agreement that we had.

I had asked him to sign a form stating all the events that took place regarding the verbal agreement before the signing of the rental agreement and the events that took place in January concerning the prospective buyers wish to have the home by April 1st. I had requested this form be signed before I had asked for money for moving.
He refused to sign because he thought the form ridiculous. I thought it was absolutely necessary, so that there is a written record of what occurred.
There are more details that I can give, but this is long enough.
My question is: Now that he has refused to pay for moving expenses (which he deems unreasonable) can I sue him for the expenses that I will incur for moving, if I indeed move? I believe that I can claim since he did not pay for the moving expenses, my agreeing to move by
April 1st is void. And since, it is void the original agreement that we entered into still stands. I believe that it is reasonable to assume that the landlord had intentions of selling the home all along, and that is why he omitted the length of time that I was entitled to reside at the premises. Since, that agreement has been breached by not paying my moving expenses, I can sue him for the expenses that I've incurred while staying there. I, after all, was not able to find an apartment, and was, in a sense, stuck to stay at the apartment, having just moved in, when he informed me that the prospective buyers would like me to move. I had just paid for the movers moving me in, not to mention of going through the trouble of packing and unpacking. Plus, in this time I have had to pay all the utilities in my apartment. ALL THE UTILITIES! I've paid for heat, hot water, cooking gas, and electricity. I believe that since I had little alternative but to stay and move in April--as I don't think he would have accepted my wish to stay; he was hankering to sell the house and collect the dough, I believe-- there was little choice but to pay for these necessities of life--heat, hot water, cooking gas, and electricity.
So let me know what you all think. I think I have a pretty good case against him.

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