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Renter Prefers Her $291/Month Pad to her $747/Month One

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Margaret Hearn moved into a $291/month rent-controlled apartment at 345 East 12th Street after befriending the Rutas, the two sisters who held the lease and invited Hearn to live there. Hearn tells The Local she took care of both sisters but, after the second one died earlier this year, Hearn came home from the funeral to find a padlock on the door. Hearn received an order to vacate on April 30, and her landlord took her to court to evict her at the end of May. (Other apartments in the building appear to go for $2,000-$4,000/month.) Hearn's argument for staying in the apartment: that she was a non-traditional family member of the Rutas, and that she has a disability, so she is only required to have co-habited with them for a year in order to take on the lease.
But there's a twist on the story, which is: Hearn already has a lease on a $747/month rent-stabilized Gramercy studio. She says it isn't her primary residence?and the Con Ed bills are only around $15/month?but in that case, her landlord there has the right not to renew that lease, either. So Hearn is putting all her eggs in the 345 East 12th Street basket.
?Building photo via PropertyShark
· Fighting for a $291 Apartment, With a $747-Per-Month Last Resort [The Local]