Posted by Hyath on July 15, 2001 at 20:10:05:
Please help me if this an illusory sublet case and what I should do.
I am living in Manhattan in the East Village area for a year and my lease (Ití»s a sublet for one year) is about to expire. Ití»s a 20 unit building which is probably a rent stabilized building. The rent is under $2000 also. Ití»s not a furnished apartment and when I came in everything was more close to destroyed.
I got this place through a broker who mainly deals with apartment in the East Village area. At first I was never intending to find a sublet apartment and asked to find an apartment to lease. There was several apartments which were in my budget and that I liked but I failed to get one of the apartment that I applied for. (Now that I think of it I think the broker never submitted the application for the specific apartment) Instead he brought up with a very different apartment which I am living now. The rent was about $250 higher than the one I first intended and also a sublet but he was kind of demanding that this was the last one he could show through his office. (I had already submitted application fee)
After all I accepted the apartment since I was in a hurry to find a place (I am an international student) and also it was close to the school. But since subletting this I came across with so many questions and frustuation.
I was only given the name of the tenant and his mailing box address but no phone number, so I couldní»t get in touch. Well the broker gave me landlordí»s phone number and only first name. No last name.
Also the broker told me he was going to get the sign of the tenantí»s and give it to me but never sent me the original sublet lease. So until now I only have a copy of the sublet lease without the tenantí»s sign. Of course I several time reminded him of sending the original sublet lease with the sign but without success. I have payed the brokerí»s fee as much as $3000 and payed 1month rent, last month rent and security deposit. I even had a guarantor. I have receipts from him regarding this.
The house was in a very dirty condition. I so much regret I didní»t take photos. I asked for inventory check through the broker but never got any reply so I doní»t have a inventory check list. (The broker told me to go through the broker for things I had questions.)
But after moving into the apartment I had more weird things. When I called the landlord for several things including changing the lock, he told me to send the checks to his address and gave his address. At that time I didní»t really think much of it, but soon came across with other things as well. There were so many mails and phone calls coming in but not one was with the name of the tenant .(I guess the former subletees were also international students since their calls were all international) But the gas bill continued to come with the tenantí»s name on it and the phone bill was coming with the landlordí»s mane. The phone number which was in the apartment carried the landlordí»s name, so I asked him if he could change it to my name which he first denied stating that a sublettee hasní»t so much right as of a tenant. Anyway I demanded to change the name and he finally did. (But the gas bill I am paying through the tenantí»s name)
One day I asked one of the neighbor in the apartment who was here for around 20 years, and she told me this is a rent stabilized apartment. Of course I had known nothing of this and as I told her the tenantí»s name she told me it seems that he is the landlorí»s son or family since the last name was the same.
Right now I doní»t have a intention to live at this apartment any longer, because the rent is over my budget and I feel very uncomfortable with the situation. Of course I payed everything well on time and the landlord asked me whether I wanted to stay more when I noticed him that I will move out.
I want to know how I could find the legal rent of the apartment and if this is rent stabilized also. My neighbor told me this was rent stabilized but when I went trough the search from the net it was excluded. Also I heard you could not give sublet for more than 2years, and how can I find about the fact? (For the last subtenants, they payed bills using the landlord and the tenantí»s name)
And if I find I have been overcharged, can I be compensated even if I move out from the apartment?
I would like to have any suggestions on this. I have read through the archive regarding illusory sublet, but the cases seem to differ a little bit from mine. I have no idea where to bring the case to and how I should gather more information.
I would really appreciate help,
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