Working For Free, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. Prevails in Recovering Rent From Landlord Who Maintained Illegal Apartment
Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. achieved a special victory at trial in Queens Civil Court. The plaintiff found herself duped out of a security deposit for an illegal apartment. Needing an affordable place to live, the woman visited a local real estate broker to help in her search. The real estate broker suggested an attic apartment in a three-story home in the neighborhood.
The potential tenant did not think anything unusual after learning the attic apartment was owned by the real estate broker’s sister. A visit to the attic, however, revealed a real mess: writing on the walls, cracks in the ceiling, old furniture lying around, and a foul odor. It was difficult to pass up the apartment, though. The rent was cheap. The location was ideal. She had not found anything better. So, she agreed to rent the apartment at the beginning of the next month on the condition that the walls would be painted, ceiling fixed, furniture removed, etc. The landlord agreed and collected a $950 cash deposit from the potential tenant. No receipt was given.
Two days before she was to move in, the potential tenant visited the apartment. She was shocked to find the place was a disaster. None of the repairs were made. In fact, the apartment was in worse shape. The landlord had not kept her side of the bargain. When the potential tenant rightfully demanded her return of the deposit, the landlord and her sister refused. The potential tenant threatened to sue. The landlord told her “No judge will believe your story.”
Well, she was wrong. Unable to afford trial counsel to litigate over $950, Adam Leitman Bailey came to the rescue. He agreed to represent the young woman pro bono and take the matter to trial. He explained, however, that trial would be an up-hill battle. There was no receipt of the deposit, no pictures taken of the apartment, no paper evidence whatsoever. The trial would be a he said/she said dispute.
To make matters worse, the landlord brazenly counterclaimed for $3,800, claiming “back rent.” Undoubtedly, the move was to intimidate the woman and scare her away. But, with the help of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., she would not back down. She also had an ace up her sleeve. Because the Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. trial team treats every case as if it’s bet-the-company litigation, they left no stone uncovered in trial preparation. There, they found their winning argument: the attic apartment was illegal.
At trial, the table turned on the landlord immediately. Trial counsel knew it was important to begin with revealing that the broker and landlord were sisters. The judge became suspicious from the start and bombarded the landlord with questions to which she could not answer. The landlord’s death knell sounded when trial counsel brought out the Department of Buildings’ website on the laptop computer and presented the judge with irrefutable proof that the attic apartment had received violations in the past and, in fact, was illegal. The judge was convinced. Two days later, the firm’s pro bono client received a judgment awarding her deposit back plus interest. Justice had truly been served.
Adam Leitman Bailey conducted the trial for Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C.