I have a lease on an apartment in NYC that is ending 8/31. I do NOT trust my landlord (more details on his shady behavior below) so I informed him that I wanted to use my security deposit (equal to one month's rent) as my last month's rent. Technically security deposits are intended to be used only to cover damage to an apartment in NYC, but my lease does state that the deposit CAN be used for rent. He told me that I would be sent to collections if he didn't get the rent by 8/15. We didn't respond, and he told me on Monday that he had just sent me to collections. This may all be scare tactics, but I want to be prepared if he did in fact do it. I read the thread about sending a validation letter to the collections agency and I am prepared to do that. What I am wondering is if I should include photocopies of the relevant sections of the lease (proving the LL has my deposit in the correct amount and that the lease indicates it can be used as rent), or if I should wait to see if they respond at all before laying all my cards on the table. The other interesting issue about my apartment is that it is actually an illegal apartment (didn't know till after I signed a lease) which is why he isn't taking me to small claims court - a judge would throw the case out immediately. I have proof of this - a copy of the open violation on the place from the department of buildings - that outlines the illegalities. So I am additionally wondering if including a copy of these violations - which make it illegal for the LL to collect rent on the place in the first place, lease or no lease - would be helpful for my case with the agency as well. I have never been in this situation before, so any advice on how I can keep this off my credit report (which is otherwise very good) would be VERY greatly appreciated.