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It's certainly not uncommon for tenants to take to the internet to fire off angry Yelp reviews or otherwise leave a digital record of their grievances, in hopes of sparing future renters from similar frustration, and tarnishing the reputation of a bad landlord. (This is one of the many reasons we always advise readers to Google your building—and your landlord, and your management company—before signing on the dotted line.)
But one Upper East Side renter has opted for a more old-fashioned (not to mention less traceable) method, and is papering the neighborhood with flyers warning about a specific landlord, who they say misled them and illegitimately withheld $600 worth of their security deposit. Brick editor Lucy Cohen Blatter spotted one yesterday in the neighborhood:
And without knowing the specifics beyond what's on the flyer, the dispute in question does sound like a pretty common scenario. Landlords withhold all or some of their tenants' security deposits all the time, with varying degrees of legitimacy. And without having an agreement in writing, this kind of scenario can easily devolve into a more-trouble-and-money-than-it's-worth dispute with your word versus the landlords.
That said, there are still free or cheap methods at your disposal in a situation like this, including small claims court, or reporting fraud via the Attorney General's consumer hotline (more details on both here). Or, while we wouldn't recommend this with a litigious landlord, you can take spiteful (but undoubtedly satisfying) comfort in finding more creative ways to smear the their name around the neighborhood. Sometimes doing things the old fashioned way still works best.
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