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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Angry Legal Tenant Won't Return Security Deposit at End of Illegal Sublease in NYC

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: New York, NY

    Hi, my husband and I have found a sublet via Craigslist, and rented for a month in Feb-March, 2011. The rent was $1500 and deposit $1000, which we cut the check through our bank.

    Everything went smooth except that fact that her place was filthy and unbelievably messy. During our stay, her downstairs neighbor came a few times and complained about the water leak in the bathroom, and we were doing everything we can not to spread water when we took shower. She had no shower curtain, so that may have been the issue. Anyway we have left the apartment 3+ weeks ago, but this woman is holding our deposit saying she needs to check the water leak and find out what may happen during our stay but she isn't able to catch super. She also said there is no water leak problem before and after we left. Since there is no problem AND this is not sublease tenant's problem, we complained that we need our deposit back. She started ignoring from that point until now (about 1 week). I've emailed 3 times and called about 3-4 times. She said her neighbor is nasty sometimes but when she we started asking the return of the deposit, she started calling him a good friend and defend him. We think they may be together and try to keep our money. Luckily her rent statement came while we were there and we took the contact of the landlord. We also found in the letter that she was charging us $580 dollars more than her normal rent.

    My question is:
    1 Can we do something legally to get our money back?
    2 I know Small Claims Court might be an option, but they can't make her pay legally even we win. What else can we do to make her pay? A demand letter from a lawyer?

    Please somebody help us we are trying to get our deposit back at least.
    Thank you...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Legal Tenant Won't Return Security Deposit at End of Illegal Sublease in NYC

    1. Small claims court.

    2. If you don't think she'll pay a court judgment, what makes you think a letter from a lawyer - something that carries no legal weight - will convince her to pay?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Legal Tenant Won't Return Security Deposit at End of Illegal Sublease in NYC


    Thank you for your reply. You are right, if I don't think small claims court will make her pay, demanding letter may not work either. But I was just speaking from an experience. I took somebody to a small claims court before, and I won but the person still didn't pay. There wasn't way for me to force the person pay, so I felt powerless.

    I guess my choice is still with Small Claims Court, so we will see how this goes. By the way, the "landlord" called back a week after my numerous calls and emails. She is getting very defensive and nasty. She is though still saying that she wants the money returned to us, but may take out some for repair. We did not break anything at all and she refuse to show the evidence.

    Thank you...

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