What are my rights against an harassing landlord?

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What are my rights against an harassing landlord?

In early November, I told my landlord that I was thinking about moving to another apartment in December because the apt is too small for my family. A week later, she told me that I had to move out by 11/22 because she was showing the apartment to some people. Because of this, I didn’t pay rent and she sent me to court in December. The judge said that I didn’t have to pay rent for November and need to be out by 12/15. Now the landlord is calling the cops on me stating I slashed her tire and cut her cable wire, while she was away for Thanksgiving. A few days ago, I had 2 slashed tires but I didn’t do anything because I had no evidence that she was behind it. Today she called CPS on me. Isn’t this harassment/ground of distress?

Asked on December 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is against the law to slash tires; it's also against the law to misuse legal processes or agencies, such as the police or child protective services, by filing false reports for harassing or other improper purposes. So legally, if the landlord is doing these things, she is in the wrong. However, practically, the issue may come down to what you can reasonably prove. If you believe that there is evidence that she has misused the legal system--e.g. her complaints vs. you have been investigated and found without merit--you may be able to either report her to the police and/or sue her harassment. (Discuss with an attorney, who can evaluate all the circumstances in detail, whether you may have a case and what  it might be worth.)


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