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Roommate/Landlord situation in NYC. What are my rights?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (2387 points ) January 3rd, 2014

It’s the beginning of the month and my boyfriend and I decided to amicably end our relationship. Tomorrow, he will moving out of the room we sublet from another couple and I will be staying behind for at least a few months.

When we moved to this place, we were somewhat desperate. I had good income and terrible credit and he good credit but low income at the time. It was basically impossible to find a lease in the city that would look past this so we ended up in a subpar sublet situation.

Our roommate is the leaseholder and to keep this short, he’s a shady douchebag who has definitely been screwing us on rent for the several months we’ve lived here. When we moved in, he said that while the rent for our bedroom would usually be $950 for a single, he was going to charge us $1120 as a couple. This is way above average for the neighborhood we live in but like I said, we were desperate and it was hard to find any sublet situation at the time that would accommodate a couple on a month-to-month basis.

We approached our roommate today about it and he said that even though it’s just going to be me staying from now on, he’s still going to charge me the couple rate for the month of February since we didn’t adhere to the “30 day arrangement” we had previously agreed to. I had figured that that agreement went if we left the room vacant without 30 days notice. How can this be? I’m not vacating the room. I’m staying behind and agreeing to pay the rate for a single since we’ll no longer need to offset the extra utilities, etc.

When I asked if I could speak to the landlord about this, he acted very evasive and sketchy as he has in the past whenever I’ve asked to speak to him about anything—will never give me his phone number or introduce me, etc.

I’ve heard the landlord is also a bastard and I think these two might be cut from the same cloth. Is it legal or ethical for my roommate to charge me the couple rate for a month that I’ll be occupying as a single? What recourse do I have in this situation? I really don’t want to have to pay an additional $170 at least on principle alone.

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