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Re: Landlord Harrassment?!

Posted by TenantNet on November 19, 1996 at 02:19:10:

In Reply to: Re: Landlord Harrassment?! posted by Elisabeth Dugan on November 18, 1996 at 15:00:56:

: I mistakenly wrote that I sublet the apartment to a friend; in fact, I sublet the apartment FROM a friend.
: I moved into my rent-stabilized apt. in May under some precarious
: : circumstances; I sublet the apt. to a friend who lied to the landlord.
: : He found out and threatened to evict me for trespassing.
: : In July we worked the situation out and he attached a rider to the lease,
: : assigning the remainder of the lease and the security deposit to me.
: : The lease expires in May 1997.

: : Since July I have paid the rent within a week of the first every month.
: : This month, the landlord threw away my check because he didn't
: : recognize the envelope. I agreed to send a duplicate check
: : (for which I bear the expense of stopping the check, the new check,
: : the envelope and the postage);
: : now he's calling and demanding to know when I mailed it; why I don't return his calls immediately;
: : where I am when I don't answer my phone or my door (I travel a lot)
: : and threatening dispossession.
: : Whenever he likes, the landlord calls me and interrogates me or leaves nasty threatening messages on my
: : voicemail at home and at work.

: : I had a leak in my bathroom; when I called to inform him, he told me to
: : find the leak, clean up the mess and put a bucket under it, and
: : that he'd send the plumber. So far, no plumber.

: : Is this harrassment?

In my book parts of your story border on it, but you won't get relief
anywhere. On the harassment issue, although the Rent Stab Code defines
what harassment is, the DHCR will not enforce it as the agency is
controlled by landlord interests (it always has been, now they don't
even pretend). Also the courts are useless when it comes to harassment
of tenants.

Apparently you've become the legal tenant. A landlord has the right to seek
rent and it appears he's jumping the gun a bit here; even so he has the right
to make inquiries. However the **manner** he is doing this is improper.
Write him a certified letter and tell him (not only that you are generally on time)
but that he is not to call you at work and if at home at only specified hours or days
(or not at all at home if you prefer). Tell him if he has concerns about the
timeliness of the rent, he is to send you a letter expressing those concerns.
This actually protects him as it shows he's demanded the rent and it might
be construed as a "three-day notice" if he ever takes you to court.

As for the leak, in the same letter, tell him about it, that you've complained
and that he's apparently taken no action to make repairs. If he does take you
to court, make sure he knows that his lack of repairs will be a defense and
cause for you to seek an appropriate abatement.

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