Posted by renate on August 12, 2001 at 00:04:11:
I have been arguing back and forth with my landlord about repairs to my apt. for a while it is a private house, month to month thing. no lease. I finally got fed up and started a lawsuit for repairs. Before starting the lawsuit I made a complaint to HPD, two days later, the landlord got mad and gave me a note asking me to leave. The note did not have the same words on it as a legal 30 day notice, it gave me 30 days to get out but it didn't say that if I didn't the landlord would start proceedings, etc., also it was not served to me by a process server or certified mail the landlord just knocked on the door and handed it to me. Anyway, after I got the notice, I said to the landlord, "well obviously you would rather kick me out than fix my molded ceiling so i'm taking you to court for repairs and i'm asking for a return of some of my rent money for having to live like this for the past 8 mos., AND by the way I'm holding the rent until you fix my ceiling" I put a stop on my rent check and told him that when he fixed the ceiling, he'd get hid monry. I saved the money, haven't spent it, and if he fixes the ceiling before I move out then I will give it to him as promised, but he is being a jerk about it and fixing everything on the inspection report BUT my ceiling, saving it until the last minute.
Now we went to court and the judge ordered the landlord to fix the ceiling, among other things. Five days before we went to court the landlord finally served me a formal 30 day notice via certified mail and process server. is this retaliatory, does it 'count'?
Also during the hearing the landlord asked the judge to order me to pay him rent, since I put a stop on my rent check and I was withholding it. The judge said he couldn't do that since the lawsuit was about repairs not nonpayment and he also said that since it is a month to month tenancy and the landlord sent me a 30 day notice, if he demands or accepts rent from me between now and the time the 30 days is expired, he can't evict me because he accepted my rent, and in doing so he will have also accepted my tenancy for another month, and he would have to start all over again.
My rent for July was held because the landlord made it clear he wasn't going to fix my ceiling. Then almost 20 days after I began holding the rent he sent a formal 30 day notice that was served according to the court's rules. He expects me to be out by the end of this month, aug., but even though I am looking for a new apt., I haven't found anything in my price range yet. If he accepts rent from me for Aug., he loses his holdover case (as the judge said to him). And he still has one months security deposit.
But he said that if I leave by aug. 31 as he asked me to on his 30 day notice of termination and he still doesn't get his rent for july, he is going to sue me for it in small claims court. I am assuming he is not going to fix the ceiling before I leave, I was asked to get out by aug. 31 and he has until sept. 30 to finish all the repairs. I think he figures he'll do everything else and then when I leave, he'll paint over the mold on the ceiling, get a new tenant, and there will be no one there to complaint to the judge that he failed to follow the court order.
I feel that if he didn't finish the repairs prior to my moving out I shouldn't have to give him the rent money I withheld. but just cause I feel that is fair doesn't mean the law thinks its fair. Is it leagl for him to take the withheld rent from me before I leave even if he didnt' complete the repairs I sued him for and can he take me to court and win aug's rent even though he has my security deposit and he issued me a 30 day notice on a month to month before aug. 1st?
I just want an idea of what the rules are. also under the circumstances if I give him his rent as he is demanding can I sue for my security deposit if he insists on keeping it?
anybody out there know the law on this or have experience in this area? this is very complicated i think.
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