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Multi-faceted problem with landlord

Posted by Eric on January 08, 2002 at 23:18:54:

I lived in a one bedroom basement apartment in Queens until mid November with my ex. My move was supposed to be temporary, but turned permanent.

I paid the full rent for november, and half the rent for December (my ex paid the other half.) Since I left, she has refused to permit me entry into the apartment to gather my belongings. I asked the landlord for assistance, since my name is on the lease and I had paid the rent. He refused to allow me entry. Now, he is asking me to pay one-half of January's rent (despite the fact I vacated the premises over 2 months ago) all the while denying me entry. Is that not illegal? I mean, if I was a paid tenant, would that situation not be like a tenant who locked themselves out? Can I legally get a locksmith to open the door for me if the landlord refuses to do so?

On two other notes pertaining to this apartment:

1) Would it be illegal if this basement apartment only had one exit (the front door) and all of the windows were barred and did not have any means of being opened?

2) The info on what makes an illegal conversion are a little confusing. Everyone that has ever been to my place has said it looks illegal, what with the 7 foot ceilings with steam pipes running right through them...but is there any way to tell if an apartment is illegal besides calling the Dept. of Buildings???

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