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Old 07-28-2013, 02:25 PM
 
10 posts, read 34,056 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi, all. First time poster. Really need some guidance here. Any help would be much appreciated.

I live in New York City. I and my two room mates have a fourth room mate coming in and needed to move to a four bedroom. This fourth friend currently lives in Michigan and won't be here until August 4th or 5th. We needed an apartment for August 1st. We found one through a broker. We saw the apartment and loved it, so we agreed to sign. We filled out all the paperwork and sent it in for a credit check. We were approved. The broker then told us all four of us had to sign the lease in the same room together the next day. I reminded him this was not an option as one of our room mates lived in Michigan. I offered to fax the lease to him where he could get it signed and notarized and fax it back. This was, evidently, not an option.

After an intense game of phone tag with the broker (him telling me he didn't want to pester the landlord about this because it could lose us the apartment, and me telling him that if we all four had to sign it at once in the same room we couldn't get the apartment anyway because one of us is 1,000 miles away), he said the three of us could sign it and room mate #4 could just sign it when he arrived. The three of us showed up to the realty office early, signed the lease, handed them nearly $7,000 in cashier's checks, and were on our way. Before we left, we asked when we could expect to pick up the keys. They told us definitely by the 1st but they would ask if we could start moving our stuff in sooner. We felt victorious. We scheduled a U-Haul. Our fourth room mate purchased his train ticket to the city. We started packing. We sent a letter to our current landlord telling them we would not be resigning our lease for another year and would be out on the 1st.

I recently received this email from the broker:

"Hey Guys,

Contacted the landlord to verify when to
get keys to give to you. And, was told keys can't be released till the last renter signs his portion of the lease.

Best."

I replied back:

"Hey, [broker].

That was not the deal. We were told we could move in on the first of August (and even possibly a few days earlier). We understand if the last renter can't move in until he signs and we are willing to negotiate around that, but the three of us signed the paperwork and handed you the checks after being told that we would have a place to live come the first of August (as stated on the lease that we signed). The three of us alone make more than enough money to pay for the place by ourselves (in fact, that's what we're doing now: Living in a three bedroom for the same price as this four bedroom), and our fourth room mate bought his train ticket to New York City for August fourth after we were told this wouldn't be an issue. If someone would like to contact us to help resolve this issue, we would be willing and eager to work everything out. We offered to fax the lease and/or paperwork to the last renter who could sign it and have it notarized before faxing it back. This offer still stands. Please let us know as soon as possible what can be done.

Thanks."

It's been nearly 24 hours and we haven't heard back. I'm thinking about sending a follow-up email with the word "attorney" in it, and even debating finding a legal adviser who would be willing to help us out on this by coming with us to any future meetings (and maybe even contact the realty office themselves and speak with the broker). As of now we don't have a place to live between August 1st and August 5th because we were given faulty information before and after paying a large amount of money to this broker and landlord. It's getting closer and closer to the 1st, so any advice would be much appreciated. Is this illegal? The lease we signed said we could move in on the 1st of August.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:38 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,826 posts, read 72,901,760 times
Reputation: 38585
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad168 View Post
<sniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip!>
The three of us showed up to the realty office early, signed the lease,
handed them nearly $7,000 in cashier's checks, and were on our way.
Do you have a copy of this countersigned lease?

Quote:
Before we left, we asked when we could expect to pick up the keys.
With only a few days until the next month and rent paid...
you should have received the keys and full access that minute.

Quote:
I recently received this email from the broker:
"Hey Guys, Contacted the landlord to verify when to get keys to give to you.
And, was told keys can't be released till the last renter signs his portion of the lease.."

Thanks in advance for any help.
Have you contacted the actual owner yet?

Assuming you have and were told no....
Your choice is to attempt to sue the owner and the broker (who clearly exceeded his authority)
or to accept your lumps (and a full refund of the money) and then find some other place to live.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:41 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,741,786 times
Reputation: 26614
The broker is an idiot. The other roommate could easily have signed in absentia. The broker took your money and you signed the lease which is legally binding whether one signature is missing or not. You didn't need to give the broker all that information but you should immediately notify him in writing that this is NOT satisfactory, that you have a legally binding contract. he has all necessary fees and you are arranging to move in on August 1st. Advise him that if he doesn't immediately (within 24 hours) respond confirming that the keys will be available by August 1st you'll immediately seek legal counsel and will have no hesitation in suing to the fullest extent of the law for return of all monies plus damages.

Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:49 PM
 
16,380 posts, read 20,343,764 times
Reputation: 14316
See if the out-of-towner can sign/notorize a power of attorney form for one of you to sign on his behalf...only for this lease. In other words, the power of attorney is only for signing of the lease and you cannot have power of attorney on other matters for this person. It's pretty common to do this for legal matters such as sale of property where one party can sign for another party at the closing table.

Google Power of Attorney. He can sign/notorize and get it to your inept broker. I just wonder is that broker will refuse to accept it.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5154849_sign...-attorney.html

When you sign the lease as power of attorney, I am pretty sure you sign slghtly different. you sign your name and write something under it about Power of attorney. Google for how to sign it. Inept broker should know all this stuff. He is worthless. Something like John Smith POA for James Newton. (where James Newton is the 4th person on the lease.)

Another option that the inept broker didn't think of....was to overnight the lease to the out-of-towner. And have him sign and overnight it back. Although in this day and age that's pretty antiquated.

Is your broker white haired and still stuck in the 70s? This is just nuts.

Another option is to have him redo the entire lease to the 3 of you. Then when the 4th guy shows up, add him to the lease and have everyone sign and addendum or whatever. Treat it lke someone is added mid-lease.

That broker must have an IQ of 80 or something.

Last edited by sware2cod; 07-28-2013 at 03:18 PM..
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:54 PM
 
4,399 posts, read 9,910,225 times
Reputation: 2368
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad168 View Post
Hi, all. First time poster. Really need some guidance here. Any help would be much appreciated.

I live in New York City. I and my two room mates have a fourth room mate coming in and needed to move to a four bedroom. This fourth friend currently lives in Michigan and won't be here until August 4th or 5th. We needed an apartment for August 1st. We found one through a broker. We saw the apartment and loved it, so we agreed to sign. We filled out all the paperwork and sent it in for a credit check. We were approved. The broker then told us all four of us had to sign the lease in the same room together the next day. I reminded him this was not an option as one of our room mates lived in Michigan. I offered to fax the lease to him where he could get it signed and notarized and fax it back. This was, evidently, not an option.

After an intense game of phone tag with the broker (him telling me he didn't want to pester the landlord about this because it could lose us the apartment, and me telling him that if we all four had to sign it at once in the same room we couldn't get the apartment anyway because one of us is 1,000 miles away), he said the three of us could sign it and room mate #4 could just sign it when he arrived. The three of us showed up to the realty office early, signed the lease, handed them nearly $7,000 in cashier's checks, and were on our way. Before we left, we asked when we could expect to pick up the keys. They told us definitely by the 1st but they would ask if we could start moving our stuff in sooner. We felt victorious. We scheduled a U-Haul. Our fourth room mate purchased his train ticket to the city. We started packing. We sent a letter to our current landlord telling them we would not be resigning our lease for another year and would be out on the 1st.

I recently received this email from the broker:

"Hey Guys,

Contacted the landlord to verify when to
get keys to give to you. And, was told keys can't be released till the last renter signs his portion of the lease.

Best."

I replied back:

"Hey, [broker].

That was not the deal. We were told we could move in on the first of August (and even possibly a few days earlier). We understand if the last renter can't move in until he signs and we are willing to negotiate around that, but the three of us signed the paperwork and handed you the checks after being told that we would have a place to live come the first of August (as stated on the lease that we signed). The three of us alone make more than enough money to pay for the place by ourselves (in fact, that's what we're doing now: Living in a three bedroom for the same price as this four bedroom), and our fourth room mate bought his train ticket to New York City for August fourth after we were told this wouldn't be an issue. If someone would like to contact us to help resolve this issue, we would be willing and eager to work everything out. We offered to fax the lease and/or paperwork to the last renter who could sign it and have it notarized before faxing it back. This offer still stands. Please let us know as soon as possible what can be done.

Thanks."

It's been nearly 24 hours and we haven't heard back. I'm thinking about sending a follow-up email with the word "attorney" in it, and even debating finding a legal adviser who would be willing to help us out on this by coming with us to any future meetings (and maybe even contact the realty office themselves and speak with the broker). As of now we don't have a place to live between August 1st and August 5th because we were given faulty information before and after paying a large amount of money to this broker and landlord. It's getting closer and closer to the 1st, so any advice would be much appreciated. Is this illegal? The lease we signed said we could move in on the 1st of August.

Thanks in advance for any help.
This is a tough one. If it was me I would find a cheap hotel in Jersey and get the broker to pay for it afterwords or to sue him for it if he resists. But overnighting the lease for the other guy is obviously the best option.
I don't think you should try to get this money returned and find a new place. I mean are you going to have to live in your car until you get another place, do you have another 5k for move in costs to find a new place?

Last edited by jdm2008; 07-28-2013 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:57 PM
 
16,380 posts, read 20,343,764 times
Reputation: 14316
another option..call an attorney pronto. Might cost you a couple hundred bucks but the attorney will put a fire under the inept broker and force him to do something to get y'all in on the 1st.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:14 PM
 
10 posts, read 34,056 times
Reputation: 10
These are all really helpful suggestions. Thank you so much, everyone. I will look into the power of attorney business. That seems like an interesting idea.

I just sent the broker this email:

"Hey, [broker].

Just sending a follow-up email, since you have not responded.

Since we have signed a legally binding contract that states our occupancy begins August 1st, if we do not receive confirmation immediately (within 24 hours of this email) that we will have the keys in our possession by August 1st, we will seek legal counsel and will have no hesitation in suing to the fullest extent of the law for return of all monies plus damages. We are continuing with plans to move in by August 1st. There should be no reason that [our fourth room mate] is not able to sign in absentia. If this is all a misunderstanding we will have no reason to seek said counsel and would be happy to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Please let us know immediately what is being done (or what can be done) to hurry this process along.

Thank you."

I guess now I wait?
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:30 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,741,786 times
Reputation: 26614
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad168 View Post

I guess now I wait?
Yep. Good letter, let us know what happens, keeping fingers crossed for you!
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:32 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,826 posts, read 72,901,760 times
Reputation: 38585
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad168 View Post
These are all really helpful suggestions.
I guess now I wait?
do you have a copy of the lease?
is it signed by the broker or owner?
do you know who the property owner is?
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:41 PM
 
10 posts, read 34,056 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
do you have a copy of the lease?
is it signed by the broker or owner?
do you know who the property owner is?
Sorry for not responding.

The answer to all of these is no.

We were not given a copy of the signed lease. In retrospect it was foolish not to ask for one.

As far as I recall there were no signatures but ours on the documents.

There was a notary present at the signing, but otherwise communication only occurred through the broker. The application has the name of a property management company of some kind, but I don't have a person's name.
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