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Re: Withholding Security Deposit

Posted by TenantNet on September 18, 1996 at 00:00:49:

In Reply to: Withholding Security Deposit posted by Mark Hermansen on September 16, 1996 at 22:16:17:

: The gas pipe outside my former building broke around May 15, 1996. ConEd
: repaired it within a day and a half. My landlord did not have gas to the
: building hooked up and turned back on for 29 days. Accordingly, I couldn't
: cook and heat/hot water was, at best, sporadic. I withheld rent under the
: Warranty of Habitability Law for 1/2 of May and 1/2 of June, and advised my
: landlord of this with letters which I sent with my rent checks. These checks
: were cashed, and I did not receive and communication, written or verbal,
: from the landlord.

: Today, in trying to get by security deposit back (it's been 2 mos. since
: the end of my lease), he said he was applying it against the offsets above.

: My questions are:
: 1) Can he (legally) do this, and
: 2) What's my best recourse, if any? (e.g., small claims, DHCR, etc.)

He can try it and you can try to do something about it. DHCR has not jurisdiction
on this. You could go to small claims court. You should claim that he
waived any right to object to your rent withholding in that he did not
object at the time, that he accepted the half-rent checks and took no
other action at the time to recover the rent. He will claim it is being
used for the value of rent from those months so you have a dispute if
you have a right to an abatement. Better be prepared to prove he took
his time to make repairs. He might come up with an excuse the court might buy.

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