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rental share and getting security back

Posted by sloho on April 29, 2001 at 18:10:16:

I recently had rented a room (supposedly with run of apt) downtown. Strange situation, but here's the skinny..

1) I was "semi-homeless" & desperate, so taking a room that I was promised either access to a phone line (or the option to activate what turned out to be a non-existent 2nd line), with only a $500 security deposit (plus the month's rent) seemed like a good idea. The lease holder (I assume) was born in the apt (so either rent controlled or stabilized), although the rent was $1000/month. This was agreed to be a temporary living situation for a period not lasting longer than 6 months, with the first month being a "trial" period.

2) Turns out the guy did not want super to know about the rental, so only receipt I have for money is as a "loan" to be paid on a certain date, which is signed by both of us (and initialed). It also turns out the first two weeks I actually had a different roommmate..the apt "owner" apparently has this thing going on where he was renting both rentals at a "market" price, while crashing at his mom's or gf at night. When the other roommate moved out and he moved back in, all hell broke lose...morning parties, late night parties, etc etc (on his part). Additionally, there was a problem with the phone. Within a few days I notified him I would be moving out at the end of the period, which he had no problem with.

3) The parties etc continued (along with some illegal activity), and it got to the point where I was rarely in the apt, unless it was after 2 or 3am and to sleep. The phone was an issue, as well as getting any work done. I agreed to move out a day early (this situation got so bad that when I told him I was moving out, I hadn't even another place lined up), so he could rent apt quickly, and thus pay me the security deposit (minus an amount we agreed on for utilities) immediately. It turns out he had spent the security, as well as the money he received from the new tenant. Supposedly he is waiting for the new tenants security to pay me back, and since it is within our intial agreed upon timeframe, I decided to wait.

4) I have the feeling that this is going to be like pulling teeth, and am wondering if I should just look into a small claims action now to save time. Additionally, is there anything in the statutes that I can claim double the money? At this point if I could afford a lawyer I would try and sue him for some of the original rent money back, as it was such an intolerable living situation that I had to be out of the apt most of the time. A few days before I moved out we had a blowout about things ( I was requesting that things be chilled out my last few days, because at this point I was not only losing sleep, could not access phone to find another place). This ended in him calling his brother to (a) first help throw me out, (b) then went to he was going to be a witness so he could call cops to throw mer out..listening to him on the phone suggested this is a regular routine this joker has pulled, but at this point I just wanted the last few days to get the heck out of there and get my deposit back.

btw..another question..I have been looking at shares for some time now..and what I've noticed is a penchant for tenants to not only ask an exhorbitant rent (since I know they have been there a while, it's pretty obvious who is paying bulk of rent), in addition to 1st, last, months security (surprisingly, most of these ppl weren't aware that this money was suppoosed to be put in an interest bearing account).. my question is is there a limit on what a tenant can charge a roommate, especially if it's a rent stabilized apt?


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