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Old 11-25-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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hi, i'm new to this forum and i have a question regarding my dispute with a management company. i signed a lease for an apt. about a month ago and was schedule to move into the apt. this week, but i was laid off last week and can no longer afford the monthly rent on the apt. i informed the mgmt. company the day i was laid off last week (which was before the effective date on the lease agreement) that i was not going to move into the apt. on the effective date of the lease agreement. since i never took possession of the keys on the apt. and never moved in, they never sent me a copy of the lease agreement. the mgmt. co. said their policy regarding lease termination is to charge a fee equivalent to 2 months rent which is the amount i paid them upon signing the lease about a month ago. do i have any rights in this situation considering i never took possession of the keys and never moved into the apt.? how should i go about fighting to get my money back? i don't even know if there is an executed agreement between both parties since i have not received a copy of the lease agreement signed by both parties. any help would be much appreciated. thank you.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:40 PM
 
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no you do not

You signed the lease, once you sign it is a done deal, unless they failed on their part some how, like if the space is not livable because construction was not completed etc

anyone who wants to break the lease cannot just walk away scott-free

It works vice-versa

Sometimes the Managers want the tenants to move out, but cannot just kick them out, and will usually have to pay the tenants a sum of money to move out

That scenario is in the tenant's favor, yours is not in your favor

You may be able to make a deal with them, but there is not much you can do
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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thanks. obviously, that was not the answer i was hoping for, but i definitely appreciate the feedback.

i can understand keeping the security deposit, but i just can't understand the argument for keeping the first month's rent considering i never moved in or took possession of the keys.

what if i put a stop payment on the check?
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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you could do that

but they may still come after you in court

if there is something written on the lease they may have a case, but as you might not know, NYC is a tenant town, meaning the courts favor everybody but the landlords

for example we have tenants that have not paid in like a year or two despite being taken to court so many times

You never know

There are advocacy groups for people like you, and they have lawyers, legal teams and such to advise you free of charge

I will see if I can look some up, and will post them here
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
825 posts, read 2,684,616 times
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This is a very unfortunate situation that I imagine is being played out with greatly increasing frequency. It is the renter's equivalent of being foreclosed on. I feel for your situation but have no reason to be more optimistic than NJ Chutzpah. Technically you are liable for the entire lease. Be somewhat glad you are getting away with two months down the drain--some places here in Manhattan require more than a month's security (I myself had to put up 4 months for reasons that aren't important here) and the landlord is within their rights to deduct from that deposit until they can re-rent the apartment. But what if the landlord rents the apartment to someone else right away for the same amount? It doesn't seem fair that you should have to lose two months rent, as you never moved in, so the landlord would not have had to clean, paint, etc. But unfortunately I suspect landlords are quite creative when it comes to making up expenses that they have incurred. I have no practical advice other than to try and reason with them (good luck).
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:29 PM
 
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thank you, NJ Chutzpah. i would greatly appreciate any links to advocacy groups you find. i'm also planning on going down to the NYC housing court since they have volunteer lawyers which offer free legal advice as well.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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thank you, nyctc7. i'm trying to reason with them calmly and i feel i've acted in good faith and made them aware of my financial situation as soon everything happened. i'm only looking for a just outcome.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:56 PM
 
2,541 posts, read 10,969,529 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctc7 View Post
This is a very unfortunate situation that I imagine is being played out with greatly increasing frequency. It is the renter's equivalent of being foreclosed on. I feel for your situation but have no reason to be more optimistic than NJ Chutzpah. Technically you are liable for the entire lease. Be somewhat glad you are getting away with two months down the drain--some places here in Manhattan require more than a month's security (I myself had to put up 4 months for reasons that aren't important here) and the landlord is within their rights to deduct from that deposit until they can re-rent the apartment. But what if the landlord rents the apartment to someone else right away for the same amount? It doesn't seem fair that you should have to lose two months rent, as you never moved in, so the landlord would not have had to clean, paint, etc. But unfortunately I suspect landlords are quite creative when it comes to making up expenses that they have incurred. I have no practical advice other than to try and reason with them (good luck).
no they cannot rent the apartment to someone else until the original tenant and the landlord are in official agreement to end the lease

Usually that will include how much the landlord will keep

if you are absent for a long time then the landlord can claim that you are not using the apartment and can reclaim it, then rent it out again

If it has not been that long, you can still claim the apartment

did you already sign a contract to terminate the lease? You may still be able to claim the keys, and the apartment

The thing is this, just take the apartment, because it is not easy for the landlords to evict you once you are in, even when you do not make payments

Is the apartment in northern manhattan because there is the Northern Manhattan Improvement something that helps out tenants who fail to make payments with legal advice

There are other tenancy advocacy groups too
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,918 posts, read 29,685,857 times
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I would check with the Legal Aid Society of New York as they have a housing practice group that might be able to assist in this regard. Legal-Aid

Also, you might want to check out TenantNet which might have some resources that can assist in your situation. Tenant Net - Tenants and Renters Rights - New York City

Generally, landlords are held to attempt to mitigate damages stemming from a breach, meaning that they cannot hold the apartment off the market and then say that it was your fault that they could not rent it. If they rent the apartment immediately, you should be entitled to at least a partial refund.

It's a difficult situation since you have the contract, and you could also legally move in. Can you sublease the place? Is there a clause about that in the lease? If so, and you can sublease, then don't break it and sublet it under the terms of the lease.

I'd talk to an experienced landlord-tenant advocate or an attorney to see if they cannot reach an equitable solution for you.

Best of luck with this difficult situation. I hope that you get most, if not all, of your money refunded.

Edit: Forgot this link to Eviction Intervention Service that also has a legal aid practice. http://www.eisny.org/
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:24 PM
 
13 posts, read 43,174 times
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i have not signed the lease termination agreement. i went to sign it today, but before i signed it, i asked to have a copy of the signed lease termination agreement for my records and they said they could not give me a copy at that time (even though the copy machine was in the next room and there was a printer at his desk which he used to print the agreement in front of me). it made me highly uncomfortable to sign the agreement and walk away with no record of the agreement, no copy of the lease agreement (not to mention any money). when i asked for the copy, he took the termination agreement out of my hands and put it in his desk drawer and told me i was taking too long to sign (i was not there more than 15 min. - most of the time spent there was watching him type in the agreement on the computer) and then he told me he had to go to another appointment. this made me even more uncomfortable.

i do not want to take possession of the keys and move in b/c i cannot afford to pay the rent and i don't want to be dishonest and not pay the rent and have them come after me. i was as open and honest with them as possible.

also, this apt. is on the upper west side.
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