Sunday, June 06, 2010

Best birthday so far

Yesterday JV was very sweet; he did all the food prep and dishes and let me relax. Rubbed my shoulders, too. And felt horrible that he hadn't had time to pick me up a birthday present so that I'd wake up to find it next to my bed. So we're going shopping today -- after we see two more houses.

House-hunting was a complete thrill the first time we went. I felt so grown-up and engaged, even without the ring and the discussion with Malchicks 1 & 2. Now we have seen about 10 houses, and it's not fun. It's work. Especially since the realtor we've been working with is kind of ditzy, and has been taking us to a bunch of houses we're not interested in.

It's kind of like dating, except you don't go home alone at night. You hear a few things, get all excited and hopeful, and then the reality disappoints.

Fortunately, JV can stay in the house he's renting for as long as he wants or needs to. So there's really no rush.

As far as my landlady is concerned... well, she called on Memorial Day to offer me another apartment in the building on the same lease terms. I emailed her to assert that I won't pay any "rent arrears" and that the conditions in my apartment aren't what attracted the rats. She responded:

I am willing to waive the rent arrears of $764.15 ...we will sign a kease over the will be given one week to move into the other apt..... Leave all garbage and unwanted items and unwanted food in apt 3B. CHECK ANY BOXES OR BAGS BEFORE YOU BRING INTO THE NEW APT. Pay your rent for 3B for June.

I'm not signing any lease without reviewing it carefully, so "over the weekend" isn't enough time. And I haven't packed anything, so a week isn't enough time either.

I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly, and I do appreciate the offer to move into the newly renovated apartment. However, I cannot sign a new lease until my attorney has a chance to review it. I can pick it up this Sunday and review it with my attorney during the week. Also, since I work full-time, it is impossible for me to pack up and move within the time frame you have suggested. I will need more than a week. I have sent a check for June's rent, which you should receive shortly.

She did, after all, threaten to take me to housing court several times. I'm not signing anything without reading it carefully and maybe making some changes.

I can drop a lease off to you tomorrow---it is a standard rent stabilized lease with your name on it....For your attorney to review a simple lease and you pay him for this---you can have simply put that money toward the money you owed me.

How much time do you need to move in? I need to have your current apartment renovated and ready for July 1st rental. I cannot afford to loose July 1st rent along with the rent arrears.

Don't tell me how to use my money -- especially when it's not "owed" you.

According to my attorney, I do not owe you any "rent arrears." I deducted a reasonable amount from the rent because the apartment was completely uninhabitable during the rat infestation, and I was fully within my rights to do so; in fact, I would have been within my rights to deduct a great deal more, given the expense, inconvenience, and health risk that the rat infestation caused.

Since you have involved your attorney in this negotiation by having him send me the letter dated May 18, 2010, it is only reasonable that I consult with my attorney before signing any legal documents.

I am requesting two weeks after signing the lease to move into the new apartment. If you feel that is too much time, then I will not move into the new apartment, and you will have to remediate the rat problem in my apartment in a way that will neither inconvenience me nor incur any further expenses for me.

Since your exterminator cannot suggest such a solution, I am willing to employ an independent exterminator to assess the problem and propose a solution. However, all fees related to this undertaking will come out of the rent.

She didn't take well to that.

I will give you a lease over the weekend.....By midweek, I expect a s signed lease.I will give you two weeks after to move into the new apt. If not, you can stay in your apt and as far as the rent arrears and anything else pertaining to your apt...we will go to court and let the judge decide if the condition of your apartment is acceptable.

This is an oppurtunity for you to move into a new apartment and a chance for you to get rid of all the garbage in your apartment AT THE BUILDING'S EXPENSE.

"Is she really that stupid?" asked JV.

"Apparently," I said.

I will pick up the lease this weekend, but unfortunately, given that you keep threatening legal action, I will need at least a week to review the lease and my legal options with my attorney.

I am not going to let her rush or intimidate me. But I guess she doesn't think she's trying to:

I am in no way threatening...reread your e-mails. I am clearly stating what I my next step is in regard to this situation. It is a standard will take all but 20 minutes to review it.

Another tenant told me that several of the riders the building management put into my lease were illegal... such as an agreement that they can charge me a late fee for the rent, or that I can't have subletters. I plan to cross those out of the new lease and initial them. And I did reread my emails:

You wrote: "as far as the rent arrears and anything else pertaining to your apartment...we will go to court and let the judge decide if the condition of your apartment is acceptable"

That is a direct threat to take me to court if I do not move into the new apartment within the time frame you demand, which I and my attorney find unreasonable. I am consulting an attorney because your attorney sent me a threatening and accusatory letter on 5/18/10, blaming me for the rat infestation. I needed legal counsel to assure me of my rights in this situation.

I will not be rushed into any decision, and I am fully entitled to consult with an attorney if I deem it necessary. Please leave the lease for me this weekend. I will get back to you within a reasonable amount of time. If you issue another threat via e-mail or telephone, I will only communicate with you through your attorney.

Did she go there?

I will give you a lease over the weekend. I will give you a few days to review it. Otherwise, you can stay in your apartment. And do not threaten to deduct any money from your rent for exterminators, work expenses, attorney fees or inconvenience. I have reputable exterminators that are fully capable to handle this situation. However you NEED to clean up all the accumulated junk, food and garbage in your apartment. Maybe you should take some pictures and give them to your attorney so he can understand more clearly the condition of your apartment

Ayelet, would you rather move elsewhere and terminate your lease if you are uncomfortable in that apartment? I can see what I can to do so you are not held liable for the remainder of the lease.. Let me know.

It leads me to believe the rat problem is over in your apartment. Anyone living with rats and was offered a brand new apartment would have moved into it asap.

Okay. I'm only going to communicate with her through her attorney. I will take as much time as I need to review the new lease. And I'm crossing out any illegal conditions in the new lease.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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