My question involves a roommate in the State of: New York
My old roommate used my deposit money instead of returning it to me, for they failed to find a new roommate (they even denied MY help after I found someone for them). They lied that I agreed to move out Jan 1, 2011 while I in reality moved out on December 1, 2010 - they even said they were going to find a new roommate. I gave them a 30 day notice and voice recorded our conversations. The reason I moved out was because of mold growing inside the residence from a water leak that affected my health and outcome, causing me to be very, very sick. For the whole month of November I did not live there but paid for the rent. I was to move out December 1st, but I complied to say that I will move out December 15th. On November 28, I received an email that they will look for a new roommate for the WHOLE month of December and that I had until December 1st (a 3 day notice) to move out, in which I did move out, assuming I will get my full deposit money back. I actually have voice recorded 2 conversations concerning me moving out and the actual agreement of the move out date. I planned to file to the small claims court. If I cannot get the whole month of December back, I at least am entitled to HALF of the deposit.
They claimed that I was not taking care of the mold, which caused the lease holder "stress" - I CANNOT physically be in there more than a few hours for I get dizzy (which caused ME stress) AND the landlord agreed to do some work, which was to open up the walls, etc. Since I didn't give birth to the mold, I was not responsible for removing it. They felt entitled to my money, which is not right.
How can I effectively structure this case, especially with voice recordings, and what should be my next set of actions?