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loft subletters

Posted by Ryan on July 30, 2001 at 12:36:34:

Hi. I'm looking for suggestions and advice on a matter involving subletters. I hope this is the right forum to ask about this. A year+ ago, I rented a loft through the business I was forming. I had a bootstrap operation, and so I built rooms and a kitchen and bathroom there to live in. I subletted out several of the rooms to other people on month-to-month subleases, and kept the main area as office space. The income from the subletters (and my credit card) helped me to afford and finance the cost of the security deposit, rent, and construction costs.

Well, the business didn't work out, and I was left with a loft full of hostile roomates (personal differences) and I had found I was living in a very toxic area, breathing fumes from a nearby factory that was making my nose run. So I decided to move out, rent my rooms out to new subletters, and live in a cleaner neighborhood.

So as soon as I left, one of the people living there on a month-to-month sublet got the other subletters not to pay me anything for the rent, and to pay him (he had been there longest). He now lives there apparently rent-free, and they pay him their rent. I don't even know who's living in there anymore, because they changed the locks, and the last time I did get in, there was someone new living in one room who I didn't even know.

This was all really upsetting. I hadn't wanted to be subletting rooms, to begin with, and now I had all these folks who didn't want to leave. I had put all my resources into constructing the space and securing the massive security deposit. I was heavily in debt as a result, and my business was bankrupted. Also, I, through my corporation, held all the responsibility for the space, and for paying the rent every month, which I also didn't want. I tried getting them to take over the lease, and the landlord agreed he would let them do that, but none of them would do this. The deal was too sweet by taking advantage of me and not having to have any risk or responsibility themselves.

Now, the two-year commercial lease is almost over, thank God. I need to get these people out of there, and I have told the landlord I'm not renewing. Do these people have any rights to hold on to this space? I don't care if they stay or not-- I have no animosity towards them. I rented to them at a very low rent, enough to pay my costs only, and I understand that they want to keep it that way, in a city with a housing crisis-- but I need to make sure that I get my security deposit out, and cut my losses finally. I won't get the deposit back until these people leave, and I worry they will try to stay on, which will force damages on me by the landlord. I also believe that in the last three months of the lease, they may not pay the rent for those months (the deposit is three months rent). What can I do? Any suggestions?

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