New York City.
I have been living in an apartment for at least two years and the lease holder (my former roommate) has ditched at the end of his lease. I have paid half the rent (with proof by way of bank statements) with personal checks directly to the landlord. Near the end of the lease period it came to my attention (by bills slipped under the door) that my roommate, the lease holder, had not paid any of his share of rent in eight months!!! This all came to my attention just when he left to visit family. A large amount of his belongings were left behind.
My problem is that I want to stay. I have put a lot of work into this apartment and do not have any money to move elsewhere nor do I have funds to hire a lawyer - that would wipe me out.
Since realizing that my monthly rent checks were only paying off the former roommates debt to the apartment, I have stopped sending rent to the landlord but instead putting it aside to pay him in full if he agrees to let me stay. I agree to be responsible for the full amount of rent each month from the time the lease holder ditched. Let me mention that the former roommate is now in New Mexico attempting to pay his share, but months have passed with no resolution. The landlord says he will only transfer the lease to me if I pay all that is due. I cannot afford this and also - I AM NOT EVEN ON THE LEASE AS A ROOMMATE...
The landlord says the only other way is to vacate the apartment, let him renovate and charge fair market value. I LIVE IN A SLUM BUILDING WHERE NO IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN AT LEAST TWENTY YEARS WITH AT LEAST TWO OF THE EIGHT APARTMENTS IN THIS BUILDING VACANT FOR MORE THEN ONE YEAR. That being said, I do not believe that he would do any renovations at all.
I would appreciate any suggestions that could help me stay. I have done absolutely nothing wrong and I am the one that may lose everything. Please help!!!