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Rights for roomate/share

Posted by Justin on November 11, 1997 at 10:32:36:

Here's the situation - I rented an apartment share, not from the landlord, but from the current tenant. The agreement was that I was to rent one bedroom in a 2 bedroom apartment and pay my rent to the tenant. First question: Is the current tenant legally my landlord? (He is the only one on the lease.) I gave the tenant a security deposit and rent for last month. The problems occured when I decided not to pay rent this month given what I believe to be unlivable conditions (the heat hadn't been turned on yet - there were problems with the hot water heater for about 4 days last month). When I told the tenant (whom I am considering to be my landlord) that I wouldn't pay in full because of the problems, he told me to either pay up or move out immediately. I said that I wouldn't do that - he threatened to move my stuff into storage if I wouldn't either move or pay. I moved my stuff out last week.

I would like to get my security deposit back from this person. I know that the check I wrote to him has been cashed. What are my legal rights in this situation?

I should mention that I never actually stayed in the apartment, I moved my stuff in but the total time it was there was less than a month - I continued to stay with my girlfriend the whole time.

Can I take him to housing court, or would that apply (legal landlord issue), or small claims court? Given that I have signed no documents with this person and our agreement was only verbal, do I have any rights in this situation at all? And if so, how do I go about enforcing them? Please help!

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