Can I legally press charges against my landlord for locking me out of my apartment when I still have stuff to retrieve?

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Can I legally press charges against my landlord for locking me out of my apartment when I still have stuff to retrieve?

Can I demand the full security deposit back due to his putting me in this situation, meaning, am I entitled to any financial redress for this? My lease expires next month, so I feel that the leftover security deposit, minus the 3 months back rent should be Mine, plus punitive damages for the illegal lockout

Asked on October 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

New York actually has a fairly extensive list of landlord tenant laws that you can work from.  You don't "press charges" like you would in a criminal case, but you can file a civil petition for wrongful eviction if your landlord did not follow the proper procedures for evicting you.  Not only are you allowed to collect actual damages, but you can also ask and receive "treble damages" with is an extra monetary award -- often referred to as punitive damages.  RPAPL § 853  is the section you should use to draft your petition.  If you don't feel comfortable doing your own drafting, consult with an attorney that is familiar with landlord tenant law to help you.


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