Hoboken Legal Beagle – 7/18/2008
Your third and final dose of the Hoboken Legal Beagle segment this week!
Tenant / Landlord issues, again
“My boyfriend and I rented an apartment in Hoboken through a real estate agent about 4 months ago. Since then, we have had multiple problems with the landlord. An oven that was broken when we moved in took 2 months to fix, the roof fell as a result of heavy rains and flooded our apartment and it took the landlord more than 3 days to fix and only after we went to City Hall and had an inspector come to the place, and the landlord would constantly let himself in the apartment without notice and while we were there. More importantly, after we went to City Hall we discovered that the landlord was renting illegally an apartment in the attic, which is a serious fire hazard. City Hall is dealing with this on their own.
We want to move out ASAP because we are worried that there might be a fire because of the illegal apartment upstairs. We suspect the agency knew about all these problems but hid them from us. Given the dishonesty of the landlord, we don’t think we will get our security deposit back, so we are prepared to sue. Can we also sue for a rent decrease because of the illegal apartment? Also, can we sue the agency for their broker fee which was rather high? After only 4 months, we are on the housing market again and we have to pay another broker fee again.
I honestly hope that not all landlords are like this! We are very disappointed.”
411 Legal Beagle says:
Yes the joys of tenant life have no limits. With two bedroom rentals hovering around $2,400 a month and a Realtor fee to match you have a right to be upset. I would recommend going to the original agent and state your case to the agent and the broker. Since many apartments are on the MLS, you might get an similiar unit and your original realtor might very well work a deal with you. But unless there was actual notice it will not be easy to sue the realtor.
This is the kind of matter that you can go to court pro se, for yourself, and have a chance at winning. I would recommend hiring a lawyer for a small fee, $250-$350 to help you fill out the forms and answear questions about how to proceed.
Also check Hoboken’s rent control office and get a legal calculation of the rent to see if you were being overcharged. There is no better way to express your disapointment to your landlord that forcing him to roll back his rents and pay for overcharged back rent.
It is simply wrong for Landlords to act like this. The better and newer the building the less problems like this occur, but then the rents get to be very high and there is no rent control for buildings built after 1986.