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What is weight of LL signed letter?

Posted by No Serf on November 20, 2001 at 11:28:13:

I have a question re: the legal weight of a letter.
I recently moved from a five unit building in Brooklyn. After I had lived there a year with a lease, my lease expired at the same time another tenant bought several apartments including the one I lived in.
He refused to give me a lease, told me I would be referred to as a "housemate" in legal documents, and my deposit was passed to him via the management company.
In the two months under his reign there was endless major construction and he behaved with a lack of respect for me and my privacy. He also passively threatened me with abstract but significant rent increase (with witness).
Although I loved the apartment, when an opportunity to move arose I took it, giving him two weeks notice. The following day I received a signed/dated letter from him acknowledging my notice, and stating that he would return my deposit in full, pending only that I finish business with gas and electric companies and leave the apartment in good shape, which he has agreed (via phone message) that I have done.
He was happy to do it as he imagined he could rent my apartment for significantly more than I was paying, but since that has not been the case, he has decided to return none of my deposit.
At the advice of the Tenants Council I have filed a small claims suit and would like to know the following:
Does the document he wrote act as a relinquishing of his right to 30 days notice?
Does the situation that lead me to leave have any bearing?
Any advice on how to prepare for court?
Thank you-

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