My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of:
My boyfriend and I moved into our new apartment on September 3rd, 2008. But let me give you the outline from the beginning.
We found this apartment on Craigslist sometime in the middle of July, 2008. We went to see it, the apartment seemed really nice, just what we were looking for. The Landlord was also very nice, we spoke for about an hour about random things and told her a little about ourselves, etc. She said that she's looking to sell this apartment at the moment and is in Contract with a Real Estate broker. and if she doesn't sell it by August 15, then she will consider giving it to us. Also, while we were there..she told us that she will lower the rent from $1,600 to $1,500, since our budget was $1,500. Another thing was..as we were talking, we said that we might want to get a puppy, to which she said she would need an additional deposit when we get it and we agreed to it and said it was fine.
August 1st we called our landlord and told her that we are looking forward to hearing from here because we really liked the apartment and her, and would really love to rent it from her. She told us she would call us on the 15th. We were so excited about this apartment, that we told her, if she wanted, we could give her 6 months worth of rent, to which she said "it was not necessary".
August 13th, she called and said that she's going to rent the apartment to us!
My boyfriend, who at the time lived with roommates, told them that he was moving out on September 1st (which was the day she initially gave us as our "move-in date"). We ordered a truck for September 1st, asked friends to help us move (and didn't hire any movers because of that), I hired a cleaning lady to come on September 1st (she has a cat, and my bf is allergic to cats), early in the morning to clean the apartment before we moved our stuff in..everything was going according to plan.
End of August, the landlord asks US to draw up a lease, which we do. She then tells us that her lawyer went over the lease and said that it was "crap" and put together his own lease. We said it was fine, and we looked over the lease, found some things we didn't agree with and went over to sign the lease with our comments, of course. We signed the lease on 08/13/2008, gave her a deposit (which was cashed on 08/19/2008), and were awaiting September 1st to move in.
Side note: The ad never said that it was a fully furnished apartment, after we signed the Lease, she started telling us that she has nowhere to move her stuff, which means that she was going to leave it in the apartment..to which we said ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! We have our own furniture and we don't need her couches or mattresses or anything!!!! She agreed but then told us that her bedroom set MUST STAY IN THE APARTMENT BECAUSE SHE REFUSES TO GET IT OUT..to which we agreed because at this point, we just wanted to move in and we tried seeing things from her point of view (I guess we felt bad for her for some odd reason).
Few days before our move-in date, she called my boyfriend and told us that the movers cannot pick up her stuff until September 2nd because of Labor Day. We were understanding (although now I had to ask the cleaning lady to come another day..which she wasn't available anymore, and now we had no1 helping us move because everyone works AND my boyfriend has nowhere to move because someone was moving into his room, beginning September 1st).
September 1st I get a call from her, saying that her movers will now only be available to move her stuff out on September 3rd. When we told her that she cannot do that to us because we have nowhere to put our stuff, she told us that if we don't like it, we can come and pick up the deposit!!!!!!!! To which we decided to be adults about and stay calm and said "Fine, let's just wait until Sept. 3rd". So now, our apartment cannot be cleaned. We moved our stuff in on Sept. 1st and everything was piled in the livingroom (her stuff and ours), and it was a DISASTER!!! When we asked her to give us some money for the inconvinience, she said that she'll give us $40 as a storage fee for the 3 days that she's there. And we agreed AGAIN, and said..that's fine, whatever. Throughout the whole ordeal we thought "as soon as we move in, we'll never have to deal with her again, so let's just say yes and that's it".
SIDE NOTE: When signing the Lease, we said "what happens in the appliances in the apartment break?" to which she responded "if you're careful with everything, it's not going to break"..she basically said she's not going to fix anything in the apartment if it breaks!!! AND WE AGREED...(I guess we were naive and not very smart about this, but this was our 1st apartment together, and we just wanted to make it right).
We moved in on September 3rd. The apartment was FILTHY! We had a cleaning lady come and clean 3 times, and it still wasn't enough. There were spiderwebs, dirt, etc. Since my boyfriend was allergic to the cat, his first 2 or 3 weeks in the apartment were hell. He kept sneezing every 5 minutes, he was itching, etc. Also, in the kitchen..the ceiling looked as if it leaked at one point. She said she once left her son to watch the apartment and he did something to make it leak..we believed her and left it at that. We got someone to paint the ceiling, because it was pretty noticable.
About 2 weeks after we moved in, the Landlord called us and said that she had a table on the balcony, which she wanted to pick up because she needed that table (meanwhile, she said that everything left in the apartment, which was hers, we could throw out because she doesn't need it). Considering the fact that the balcony was FILLED with her stuff (and VERY DIRTY AND DISGUSTING), we told her that it was fine to come in and get it. However we said that this will be the LAST time that she could do that, because it is now OUR place. After she picked up the table, she asked me if we ordered curtains and I said, not yet. She said I might pick up the curtain rods for my daughter in law if you don't need them, I said ok. She never called or asked about them after that.
SIDE NOTE: Before we even signed the lease, we were looking at the apartment and we were saying how excited we are to finally move in together and make an apartment our own and our home, to which she said "It will never be yours until you buy it", I guess now I see what she meant.
2 weeks after that, she called my boyfriend AGAIN, and said that she wanted to pick up the curtain rods, to which he said NO, because we already ordered curtains for it. She yelled at my boyfriend, calling him disrespectful, saying that we have been nothing but RUDE since day 1. She also started throwing out that we offered to pay 6 months worth of rent, and she didn't take it from us..and that she only took 1 deposit instead of 2, etc. She also said that she had to spend a lot of money on movers because of US, and that she had another couple who were willing to pay her $1,600/month and she regrets that she gave that apartment to us and not them. I heard all this, and I just couldn't hold myself back anymore. I picked up the phone and in a CALM voice explained to her that she has been NASTY to us since day 1. She keeps changing her stories and not ones did she say "I'm sorry" or "I understand what you guys are going through", etc. She always blames everything on "I'm all alone and I have noone to do anything for me, I'm 64 years old, etc." (My boyfriend is from Chicago, he has NO1 in NY, so I told her that, he's all alone here also, so what should he do? Complain to her about it too? It's not really our problem at this point. At first we felt bad, but she overstepped her boundaries at this point, and we refuse to deal with it). (Btw..she's not alone..she has 2 sons and plenty of people who always help her with stuff, she's always pulling the "I'm all alone" card, so that we feel bad for her, when she needs us to). I also told her that everything we ever agreed to ...WE DID! Not once did we say no to her, just to keep up a good relationship with her..and for her to act like this with us, is NOT FAIR. I also told her that the apartment is NOT her storage place..and that she cannot call us every couple of days and pick things up from the apartment. We live there and she told that, that she would leave us alone after we moved in, which she still HAS NOT. She yelled at me also, and hung up!
Next day she called and left me a message saying that she's sorry about the curtain rods and that we can keep them. She also said she's sorry in general (not really saying for that, but we were pretty happy with the one sorry that we finally got from her).
By the way, every since we moved in there..that ceiling that leaked...KEPT LEAKING! We told her, and she blamed it on us, saying that it never leaked when she lived there. (Nice, right?) Anyway, she told us to stop using the bathroom on the 2nd floor (it's a duplex with 2 bathrooms), and that she will get it fixed, so I told her to get it fixed asap, because we don't really use the downstairs bathroom to take showers..she yelled at me for that too. .
On 10/2/08, she came in with a plumber to fix the leak, the plumber didn't know where it was coming from, so she said that she will come back during the week next week. I said fine, because my boyfriend works from home, so she can come during the day and he will be there.
Today, 10/06/08, she calls my boyfriend and tells him that she will be there with a plumber at 11AM. My boyfriend says "I can't at 11, I work from home and I have a conference call at 11, please come at 12." She yells at him and says that he's RUDE (again) and hangs up on him. She then calls me and leaves me a voicemail saying that my boyfriend gave her a heart attack and her son is coming to pick her up and take her to the hospital right now and that she wants us out of the apartment..and she said ..and I quote "I don't know who raised you...to turn out the way that you did...". She then came to our house at 12PM with the plumber and left him there... The plumber is in our house now.
Our September rent was given to her on September 1st (which is when we were supposed to move-in, but didn't), and was cashed on September 9th.
October rent was given on September 29th, and was cashed on October 2nd.
There it goes...our Landlord from hell..So my question is..WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
P.S. I'm pretty sure I'm missing a whole bunch of other things (like our washing machine leaking), but I think this is enough for now..