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I used to live in this building, 222 East 10th Street. The landlord, Lance Landers, has paintings made by a friend hung on the public hallways of every floor. They are old canvases, worthless enough that he doesn't have any insurance on them.
I moved out in June of 2011 and he refused to send me my security deposit because he claimed someone moving a table out of my apartment did $800 worth of damage to one of the paintings. He didn't see this occur, and I'd moved out a full month before. We emailed about this, and about $3000 additional withholding (double-paid last month's rent) that he refused to credit, for over six months - he "didn't feel like emailing". His mom was sick, his friend was injured, he was traveling, he *got a new puppy* - you name the excuse, he used it. He never sent over photos of the supposedly damaged "art", would't let me see it, and would't let me send an appraiser over. I found out from other tenants after the fact that he has done this in the past - he admitted this in an email to me, too, saying "the last tenant just paid the $800". Even if you move out without any wear to your actual unit, as I did, he will find a reason to withhold for damages to the "public areas" of the building - these worthless paintings.
So I sued him in small claims court. Filed in Jan, had a court date last week. I flew all the way back from San Francisco to have our court date, and his brother Jon emailed me the night before to tell me Lance didn't plan to show up to court (mom was conveniently sick again). Instead, Jon would be requesting an adjournment AND filing a frivolous counter-claim. He told me he'd counter-sue for me breaking my lease and other nuisance claims that a judge would throw out, but I'd still have to fly back and forth from California repeatedly to show up to court. At the same time, he offered me $300 to settle, because he knew there was no way he'd win if I actually took him to court. He just wanted to make the cost of the flights > cost of the claim so I'd drop it. I talked him into a bit more, but ultimately had to make the economically rational decision and settle.
The guy is a real schmuck. You can do better than rent from a manipulative slumlord.
Oops, this was supposed to go into the "Rental" section.