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DOES A LANDLORD HAVE A RIGHT OF COMPENSATION Security Deposit

Discussion in 'Security Deposits' started by Poe's Home, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    New York
    I rented to tenants and gave them Carte blanche use of a repairman; they were able to call on him anytime to make any repairs needed to their apartment. My home was bought by my mother on Dec. 12, 2007 and I want to make sure it stays in the best of conditions. They were there from July of 14' til Feb 25, 17 when they gave me the key. I am disabled so I had to wait til my brother came over to take the walk-through; the tenants wanted me to hand them their deposit on the spot as they handed me the keys but I told them my brother needs to come in and do the inspection before that could take place.

    My brother was Livid to say the least; he called in a home services company to sub-contract all work needed to be done and he gave me a letter for the tenants for when they'd come for the deposit. My bother said they owe us just shy of $5000. and they better pay. He said, " ... ether them or you will out of your part of the trust!"

    I know, if they are to take me to court then I can make a counter-suit to get the money but can I go to court and sue them outright to force them to give me this $ 4,584.00 of compensations they caused and owe?
    After I gave them the right to call and have all repairs done without waiting on me to make the call? All they had to do was call the repairman and he would have done the work and knock on my door right down-stairs to get paid?!
    I'm right down stairs; Every day they'd passed my door on their way to work and again when they came home for the day? And, they couldn't tell me something needed fixing??? Can I force them to pay?
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    Force? No.

    Ask? Yes.

    Obtain an order to pay from a court? Maybe.

    Collect what you are owed from that order? Yes, but likely with great difficulty.

    You have learned here why it is a good idea to do regular inspections of the property when renting.
     
    Poe's Home and hrforme like this.
  3. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Should I go to landlord/tenant court or do I need to go to small claims?
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    In NYC it's called Housing Court.

    Anywhere else in NYS it's small claims court.
     
  5. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Oh yes for now on every 4 months I'm going to ask to look around and ask what needs to be done.

    Shouldn't I give these tenants A Letter of Intent before bringing this matter to the court?
    So not to cause any credit problems, loss of time for having to go to court or even the loss of more money due a judgement against them, due to added law fees if they comply?
    ( Because I will ask the court to add all law fees to the judgement.)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    The holder of a judgment must endeavor to collect said judgment without court intervention or assistance.


     
  7. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  9. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Here's the website for the NYC small claims courts:

    NY City Civil Court

    There's a lot of information that you need to study.

    With regard to a letter of intent, you'll have to see if the court rules require it. If they don't then I wouldn't waste any time on as tenants like yours aren't likely to respond to it anyway. Heck, they might not even respond to the lawsuit, which means you end up with a default judgment that might not be worth the paper it's printed on. (I had several when I owned rentals.)
     
  11. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    RPP - Real Property
    Article 7 - (Real Property) Landlord and Tenant
    234 - Tenants' right to recover attorneys' fees in actions or summary proceedings arising out of leases of residential property.


    Though the way it is written here solely on benefit of the tenants is this a visa versa thing the landlords hold the same right or no...?
     
  12. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The tenants had a very high credit rating up in the 780's
    In a letter of intent I can remind them that a non- responsiveness on their part would lead to a hard decline to their credit rating and it could remain a negative on their report for seven years or longer. And would advise them it would be in their best interest to respond before things escalate to the courts. I would pursue a default judgment and make sure it is placed on their FICO Report. Every time they have somebody read the report it renews the seven year rule.
    I would respond?!
     
  13. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    May I ask for Compensatory Damages? Such as my lawyer's fees and time that it took to bring this to court? I know tenants are allowed to do it but I can't find, anywhere, where landlords have this same right?
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then they aren't the deadbeats that I though they were. I agree that a letter of intent would be appropriate.

    I suggest however that you include (but not file) a copy of a completed small claims complaint form along with an itemized invoice for the expenses you incurred to repair the premises along with a demand to pay by a deadline date and that you will immediately file suit if the deadline date passes without payment.

    Please stop raising the size of the font. It's not necessary, it's hard to read and annoying.

    You can ask but you won't get. Nobody ever gets anything for the time it takes to pursue a lawsuit and, unless there is a statutory entitlement to attorney fees (I think there are none in the LT statute) you don't get them. All you are entitled to are your court filing fees and process service fees and post judgment interest if you are awarded a judgment.

    WAIT, you said your mother bought the house in 2007. Does she still own it or did you and your brother inherit it?
     
  15. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My mother died on 8/24/12; her house is in ownership inside of her living trust. It was built in 07' and I moved into it Dec of 07' house isn't yet 10 years old. Why does this make this different in some way?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  16. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Because only the owner of the property can sue. Since the property is owned by the trust, the trust is the Plaintiff, not you.

    I can't find anything definitive about this but I believe that a trustee of the trust can appear for the trust in small claims court.

    Are you specifically named in the trust as a trustee or is your brother or both of you?

    Better look in the trust documents before you answer that question. Don't guess.
     
  17. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I called my brother and asked him; he said he, my sister and I are equals but he is the trustee Ad litem or executor; but he also said that I am the legal Property Manger on record since the day my mother bought this house so I am the representative to all issues about this house in NY as he and my sister are for the properties in Ca. Do you see there being a problem with my being the person going to the court?
     
  18. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That doesn't answer my question and you need to have a copy of the document or get your brother to quote it for you.

    Does the trust specify your name next to the word trustee or co-trustee. Never mind the "equals" business or what your brother is.

    Except for one thing. You are not a lawyer. Property managers are not lawyers and cannot represent a property owner in court because that would be the unauthorized practice of law.

    That's why it's important to determine if you are named as a trustee or co-trustee in the trust documents.

    Look, it's entirely possible that you can get all of this wrong and still prevail with the lawsuit. But do you really want to take a chance that you get to court and it gets dismissed because you have no standing to sue?

    My take: Find out for sure and do it right. You should have a copy of the trust anyway in case the issue gets raised and the judge gets sticky about it.
     
  19. Poe's Home

    Poe's Home Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We kept deposit and requested these tenants to pay a balance for all the damages they have caused; We wrote a letter to them with the list of damages, cost of repairs and reasons for these actions
    ( They're Breaches on the Rental Addendum as well as willful damages which they themselves tried to hide).

    After we gave them this letter on 04/25/2017 I find this letter in mail, on 05/03/2017, with a Index No: file date 04/28/2017, it is in my mother's name from the NY courts. It is stating they are suing my mother for $2500.00 for unlawfully keeping their deposit (1800 for the deposit and 700 for punitive)? My mother passed in 2012 and the house is in the name of a Trust. I have no problem in their filing a suit I think it saves me from having to file on them ( Which I was finding a hard time in finding out just how to go about doing?) but, now, I’m not sure what I should do?
    (By all means, I know this will sound a bit snide but my mother will not be able to be there?) I would like to get this settled and have this day in court. They should have placed my name on the suit. Can I fix it? What should I do?
    Help.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  20. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You're still not answering the question.

    Before YOU can do anything you MUST determine UNEQUIVOCALLY if you are a trustee or a co-trustee of the trust or (since your mother is the listed Defendant) if you are the executor or the personal representative of her estate.

    Let's see if I can make this clear.

    For YOU to sue on behalf of the trust (the owner of the property) you must be a trustee or co-trustee.

    For YOU to respond to the lawsuit against your mother you must be executor or personal representative of her estate.

    You are free to ignore the lawsuit and let it go to default but if the plaintiffs are smart enough to eventually figure out that it's an estate issue they may be able to go after the heirs for the money if the heirs received any money from the estate without addressing all the debts or potential debts of the estate.

    Or, you can just tell the plaintiff that your mother died 5 years ago and leave it at that.

    Please call your brother and get a copy of the trust document. There's really no sense discussing this further until you do that.
     

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