I rented an apartment in 1999. There was no written or verbal rental agreement of any kind. Landlord asked me to pay rent in cash which I did. I asked but he did not give me any receipt.
In 2013 when property prices skyrocketed he got greedy & sent two thugs & they harassed me at night for a month & threatened my life. They along with my landlord typed something but did not let me read & had it signed & had it notarized & did not give me a copy which I did it to save my life. Then with advice from well-wishers I filed a civil suit as a tenant & they all went away. In response to my suit, my landlord said that I am not a tenant & he never took any rent from me & he gave me the key to the apt for cleaning & safekeeping. He also denied getting anything in writing from me.
The case came to the court in 2017 & my lawyer kept on getting new dates for a year & after a year judge dismissed the case for default. Immediately after that my landlord asked me to pay certain amount that amounted to the rent till now Dec 2021 with a guarantee that he won’t ask me for more money in future & I can live in peace. Thus I have been a tenant for 22 years & I am over 70 yrs old now.
Now he sent me a notice thru a lawyer that I have not paid the rent for last 8 years which I should pay & also vacate the apartment because I had given him the guarantee in writing with notarizing that I will vacate the apt in 60 days in 2013 as well as some rental laws.
So in response to my suit of 2013 he denied that I am a tenant & he denied that he has not asked me to sign anything & notarizing
Now he has sent me a notice thru a powerful lawyer claiming that I was consistently paying the rent till 2013 & have not paid the rent since 2013 & in 2013, I had given him a guarantee in writing with notarizing that I will vacate in 60 days. Thus contradicting everything.
So I did a little digging & found from city survey office that this property is not listed in his name in 7/12 extraction & also not in property tax bills & in fact I have paid all property taxes from 2005 till 2022, most by checks & last 3 yrs by cash & I have original receipts.
Here are my questions for your expert advice.
(1) How should I respond to his legal notice ? Can I say that he is not the owner of the property ?
(2) Can I say that he was acting in someone’s behalf and collecting the rent from me ?
(3) In notice he has threatened me with Civil & Criminal case. On what basis can he sue me with criminal case ?
(4) Do any facts from my previous suit which was dismissed for default be brought in new suit that he will file ? Because then he signed the affidavit that I am not a tenant & now in notice he says that am a tenant & has not paid 8 years rent. He also then denied of any kind of writing from me & now he says I did. Thus contradicting everything.
(5) If he files a suit, would that be expedited because of my previous suit which was dismissed 3 years ago OR the new suit will go as a regular process & take time before new trial ?
Thank You all for your kindness.