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Security withheld NYC; recourse from out of State?

Posted by Mimi on June 14, 1999 at 23:00:39:

I had a roommate agreement with the tenant of an apartment in NYC where I lived for two months. He never returned deposit, alleging no 30 days notice (we spoke and he said it wasn't necessary so it turned out to be 20 days--I documented all of this in a letter sent to him requesting the funds after 30 days). I paid the rent up to the end because he lived there and I was scared of him. I did no damage, and he has never claimed any in our email/phone contact, just alternates between making excuses to put off paying and flat out refusing.

I now live out of state--about 10 hours by car (this was July-Sept. 98--is there a statute of limitations on unreturned deposits?). The Atty. General's office said first that as a private individual (not LL) this would not be their jurisdiction, but then said I could go ahead and send a complaint form and my evidence (the contract signed by both of us and various letters/emails sent demanding the money) and they'd take a look, but might in the end send me to small claims.

The guy is angry and crazy, and has dealt with housing court type things before in NY. I am student-poor, out of state, trying to be reasonable. What chance do I have with the AG? In small claims? Should I just cut my losses? In my research on this forum and elsewhere, the views are diverse; I'd appreciate any advice you might be able to offer, both on how to deal with this from afar, and whether it's worth it to travel to court (since among other things I gather from the Bar Assoc. articles etc. that travel expenses cannot be recompensed in Small Claims).

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