New York, NY asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: Can I withhold last month NYC rent = security deposit due to lack of repairs and past complaints?

My roommate & I have signed a 2yr lease on an NYC apartment w/ a rider saying that we can leave at 1yr if we give notice by the 9mo mark. We emailed it to them along w/ the signed copy of the rider & havent heard much from them since. Since Movein our exp w/ mgmt & repairs has been bad & the living conditions have deteriorated. Theres been a persistent black substance in our toilet & sometimes from the tap so now we only drink bottled bc don't trust our water filter, showers not holding water & leaking onto the floor & into the bar downstairs, mold in shower. after multiple claims to mgmt - not been fixed. Since living here we discovered lots of complaints from ppl not receiving security deposits back. We no longer trust that they will give it back given things not fixed & our bldg coordinator once let slip they won't fix the shower bc it's too expensive & are considering withholding last month's rent which = the SD amount $4300. How to proceed? Potential legal fallout?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steven Warren Smollens
Steven Warren Smollens
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Potential legal fallout? If you do not pay rent, even if you have numerous valid reasons and evidence of good cause not to pay rent [Wow. Your narrative suggests you should have stopped paying rent months ago and forced the landlord to prove why you should ever pay rent, considering that the landlord breached the statutory warranty of habitability (why would anyone pay rent to live as you did)], the other side could sue. You get a chance in that lawsuit to establish your evidence of housing code violations and breach of lease and so on. When you leave and do not pay the last month's rent your landlord will steal your security deposit. The landlord gets away with that wrongful act if you do not sue.

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