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I have been wanting to start this thread for awhile but personal matters, including the grueling process of obtaining a mortgage for a new condo and the even more grueling process of tending to my ailing mom and dealing with horrific medical system/ hospital issues, which eventually caused my mom's demise have left this particular rental/ lease problem in the back burner.
Now that mom is buried, I can now move back to the original lease/ rental problem encountered in April of this year. (What was malpractice in mom's medical treatment is another matter pending at least a complaint to be filed by me to the proper authorities since the lawyers will not take her case on due to her age and "low" income; apparently this has to do with eventual "low" damages to be awarded even if liability was decided in favor of mom's case; how sad that life is just reduced to monetary terms, but c'est la vie). Sorry for digressing.
Back to the lease issue. In April, in assisting with my son with his first attempt to rent a NYC/ Brooklyn apt, I had to deal with unscrupulous landlords/ brokers that I myself got a first hand experience with since I was the only parent who made herself available to oversee the process and to deal with the brokers and it was my first foray into the NYC rental market. Aiya, little did I think I would encounter the difficulties I did as a middle age person with some life experience!
The listing from Craigslist was found by my son, ughh(. My S is a 19 year old college student from suburban (think remote western suffolk county of long island). Unfortunately, he did not heed my advice to consult with the trustworthy and knowledgeable realtor I referred him to. Instead S got a lead about a totally renovated apt. in Bushwick with 5 bedrooms, perfect for he and 4 pals. Frankly, I was maybe even "more at fault" since I did not realize that the apt. was in an area that I found out later was not too safe (bordering on Bed-Stuy) with shootings reported almost every other day when I was checking on the website spotcrimes.com in April 2012.
Unfortunately, I was strong armed into putting down a deposit. My son and his friends really liked the spaciousness of the house and the new condition. And this house was just 2 blocks away from another house to be rented by another group of 5 friends of S. The group of 10 people wanted to live in close proximity to each other so they could engage in projects together.
The landlord's first agent I met with told me I needed to come with a check if I wanted to rent the apt. since there were two other parties getting ready to rent the unit. So, I went to the first viewing with a deposit check in hand. The unit looked great and the neighborhood, while remote looking was on a main road. So, we put the deposit down. Then a second agent of the LL spoke to me the day after our putting the deposit down. He said he had to consult with his partner since the rent agreed upon with the deposit was too low. That would have been the rent had my S and friends moved in the day before (the day of the deposit). So, we had to agree to a higher rent if we wanted the apt. and to move in the middle of the month (4/15/12). He would even throw in exclusive use of the bay parking area for my S and friends. Then, he demanded an immediate meeting to begin the lease and for me to pick up the apt. keys after paying first month and one month security on the Thursday of that week since the weekend was Passover (starting Friday).
Stupid me, I thought we would lose the apt. and the LL's "agent" was playing hardball, so I agreed to come pick up the lease and keys and to leave the check on the Thursday before Passover. I told the agent we could not have the lease signed since all the parties were hard to get together for signing especially with a Guarantor involved. THe agent told me no problem that could wait but I had to come by and leave the checks first.
I picked up the keys, left 2 certified checks (as requested) for first month and security deposit. I was not the Guarantor but the LL named me as a tenant (I had no intentions to live in the apt.) along with my son and his 4 friends. LL's agent accepted my signature which I wrote in myself since originally there was no place for me to sign in the typed form. I added Co-Signer under my name.
Well, after leaving the rental office (it appeared they were just renting space there), I realized the LL never added in a clause to the lease to allow for exclusive use of the bay parking.So I asked S and friends to hold off and not sign the lease. By the way, the guarantor had never gotten to see the lease, let alone sign the lease. Also, I got a call from my realtor that the part of Bushwick for this apt. was still considered iffy AND there appeared to be no Certificate of Occupancy for the building. I then called the DOB after looking at the online records. The LL needed to complete 3 regulations (kind of like missing a COF but possibly easier to remedy in a shorter period of time, according to DOB staff). However, the Building indeed was missing some criteria for a full approval of residential use of the building.
Well, I contacted the LL's agent and agent then referred us to the "negotiator," who stated that our concerns were not valid and that the COF was not a problem. He indicated we could not get a full refund. He then stated he would accept half a month of rent for us to get out of the "signed" lease (considered signed because of my one signature even though the six official tenants and guarantor for the lease never signed). After a couple of weeks of haggling, my husband agreed to the 1/2 month "penalty" because we were too busy with looking for another rental for S and friends, my mom's ill health, my condo mortgage application process, etc. Then, of course, the "snake" negotiator stated he would not accept less than one month penalty for what I consider not a fully executed lease.
At which point, I said no way. We will have to go to court on this. That was end of April beginning of May when my mom first got ill. We have not followed up and I plan to take action now that Mom has been buried and my condo has been purchased.
Sorry I have been longwinded. The LL kept $7600 money given to him with 2 certified checks. What suggestions and perspectives do you have in terms of possible action?
There are 5 families involved, with one a single parent (struggling with finances). My husband thought about having individual tenants (5) and their families go to Small Claims court by contesting their own portion of the money withheld by the LL. I am more inclined towards going to the NYS Supreme Court, DOB and NYS Attorney General's office to get the money back and to file complaints because of the fraud (in representing me as a tenant in the lease when that was never the intent) and high pressure tactics.
If you have read this whole post, I take my hat off to you. I know there are some knowledgeable people here and would very much value your input. Just please spare me "you were stupid" statements because I feel so stupid already for being taken in.
By the way, the 2 keys for the apt. were immediately sent back within one day of our contacting the LL's broker that my S and friends as well as the one guarantor would not be signing the lease or moving in (in the case of the tenants).
Sorry for your loss.
I tired to read through it, but it was too rambly. Can you summarize, seriously.
You did not make clear what money was left by the cotenants. Your 7600 is past the small claims court limit but you may find it more expedient to go that route. The lease is invalid given the lack of a certificate of occupancy. That is your case- hope you can get them to relent but it may not be easy.
Where the hell is the Guarantor in all of this?
My profuse apologies for rambling and thanks for giving of your valuable time to respond to this thread. I have had too many thoughts to sort out, so I was just writing as I recalled the events. Let me try to order the sequence of events better:
1) Sunday, 4/1/12 - On first visit to a Bushwick Brooklyn apt. Son and 4 friends were interested in renting, I brought check for $3200 as requested by Landlord (LL)'s agent #1 to put down deposit of one month rent. We were told that two other parties had submitted applications for the apt. And we needed to bring check in to show our serious interest and not have apt. rented out first to other interested parties.
2) Monday, 4/2/12 - I get call from LL's agent #2 that there was a problem and the $3200 rent was only good if my S and friends had moved in on 4/1/12, the same day we had seen the apt. for the first time. He told me he had to talk to his partner and the rent would be $4000/ month for a later move in, especially if it was planned for 5/1/12. A day later (Tuesday), agent #2 calls me back and said that the apt. could be rented out with only an increase to $3600/ month rent with move in 4/15/12. S and friends would get exclusive use of bay parking attached to the 2 unit house.
3) We agreed to the increase in rent and I asked to meet the following weekend (Saturday, 4/7/12 or Sunday, 4/8/12 or even Friday 4/6/12) ) for signing of lease. Agent #2 said no, we had to meet Thursday, 4/5/12, since the Passover holiday was coming up. I stated I could not get all 5 tenants and One Guarantor (who was a parent of one of the tenants) together at such short notice to sign the lease. Agent #2 said no problem, I just had to bring in 2 checks (certified) for one month rent and one month security deposit - $7600 total and I could pick up the keys and have lease signed by all parties afterwards.
3) I met with Agent #2 on Thursday, 4/5/12, and gave the two certified checks totaling $7600 to him and was given 2 copies of apt. key. I was also given the lease to read over. The last place had lines for the 5 tenants (my son and 4 friends) and one guarantor to sign the lease. LL had already signed on his line. It did not register with me until later that I was also named as a TENANT on the lease. I was never meant to be a tenant since this was a living situation meant for my S and his college friends to be set up in. LL's agent #2 accepted the fact that I could not be guarantor since I could not afford to be shown as carrying more debt while I was in the midst of applying for a mortgage for a condo purchase. However, I did sign the lease as Co-Signer (offered to do so myself, stupid me, since I felt obligated to sign after receiving keys).
4) As stated in my first post, the following happened:
Well, after leaving the rental office, I realized the LL never added in a clause to the lease to allow for exclusive use of the bay parking. So I asked S and friends to hold off and not sign the lease during the Passover weekend. By the way, the guarantor had never gotten to see the lease, let alone sign the lease. Also, I got a call from the realtor (for my condo purchase) that the part of Bushwick for this apt. was still considered iffy AND there appeared to be no Certificate of Occupancy for the building. I then called the DOB after looking at the online records. The Bushwick apt. LL needed to complete requirements for 3 regulations (kind of like missing a Certificate of Occupancy but possibly easier to remedy in a shorter period of time, according to DOB staff). The fact was the Building indeed was missing some criteria for a full approval of residential use of the building (according to DOB staff).
5) I contacted the LL's agent #2 to let him know we had no intention of signing and fully executing the lease. I asked for a full refund of the $7600 paid to LL. Agent #2 then referred my husband and I to agent #3, the "negotiator," who stated that our concerns were not valid and that the COF was not a problem. He indicated we could not get a full refund. He then stated he would accept half a month of rent ($1900) for us to get out of the "signed" lease (considered signed because of my one signature even though the five official tenants and one guarantor for the lease never signed). After a couple of weeks of haggling, my husband agreed to the 1/2 month "penalty" because we were too busy with looking for another rental for S and friends, my mom's ill health, my condo mortgage application process, etc. Then, of course, the "snake" negotiator changed the terms of "settlement" and stated he would not accept less than one month penalty ($3600) for termination of the lease which LL considered official though I personally considered the lease not a fully executed lease" (no signatures on the lease but mine). ALSO, remember my name was written into the lease as a tenant (which was incorrect from the get go since I had no intention of living with my son and his friends). The lease was also not signed because LL never added the exclusive use of the bay parking to the lease (so terms were not representative of what had been negotiated). I had made clear that I could not be a guarantor on the lease even though I was asked to sign as co-signer.
6) My husband is inclined to to have individual tenants (5) and their families go to Small Claims court by contesting their own portion of the money withheld by the LL. I am more inclined towards taking the entire case to the NYS Supreme Court, DOB and NYS Attorney General's office to get the money back and to file complaints because of the fraud (in representing me as a tenant in the lease when that was never the intent), high pressure tactics and illegal withholding of money without a fully executed lease.
What do you all see as problems in this case from my end of things and from the landlord's end of things?
Sorry, there were too many details that I felt needed to be included so I could not abbreviate this more. I hope someone will have the patience to read through this to give me some feedback.
crescent22, I give you credit for reading through all the complicated and confusing details of the first post. Yes, $7600 is past the small claims court limit of $5000, but if each family goes to small claims court with their portion ($1520), then that should be doable.
However, I feel responsible because it was my son who found the Craigslist ad and I was the one responding to all the pressure by LL's agent to act immediately. Moreover, all other parents are busy and one parent lives out of state. The guarantor is an attorney representing financial services companies and he has very long work hours.
"The lease is invalid given the lack of a certificate of occupancy. That is your case- hope you can get them to relent but it may not be easy."
Crescent22, are you referring to the LL or the court relenting? Please elaborate on your thoughts in the above quoted statement from your post. The LL's agents have made it known they are not budging. Husband threatened taking them to NYS Supreme Court and they have not responded at all, waiting on us to take action.
If you rent an apartment without a C of O, you still owe rent. The reasons you should get a refund are that you didn't take occupancy and reneged before the lease was executed. If they took the apartment off the market for you for some period of time, some compensation for that is reasonable, but not $7600
I was wondering about the apt. being kept off the market. The series of events took place in the course of about one week, from first visit on 4/1/12 to the Bushwick apt. to returning of keys by mail on 4/8/12 or 4/9/12. I noticed the same apt. was still advertised on Craigslist for 1 month or more after this time period.
#1 - Report the realtor to Dept of State
#2 - Get in touch with the owner of the RE and warn them that they will go after them for not overseeing their agents
#3 - Check if that building ever received a C of O. If not, report illegal conversion to DOB.
#4 - NEVER AGAIN give a certified check for a rental.
#5 - You are in for a very long process to get your money back.
In that part of town, there are people renting apartments they don't have or own. The landlords just want to get some money out of their properties from clueless suburban people as noone in their right mind would rent there who has any clue. You are likely not the first or last that this will happen to with this unit.
I am not a lawyer, but I think what you state has a simple interpretation. You never had an executed lease. The lease obviously needed multiple parties to agree on things, and you as co-signer were but a minor party to such an agreement. Given that just you and the LL agreed to the lease, there was never an execute lease. As such, their cashing of the check was them taking your money without giving you anything in return. You do not owe them anything for "lost time": there is no lease until counter-signed copies are delivered to all.
Was it $7600 or $7200? You had said rent was $3600 and deposit was the same.
As far as small claims vs. supreme court, I'm not sure. I don't like the 5 small claims court idea. This between you and the LL, the other people are not owe any money.
This is a long presentation of a problem, but my quick distillation is that you wanted an apartment for your kid, agreed to trade checks for keys, and then got cold feet afterwards for a variety of reasons, and are trying to unwind the deal.
Probably not a lot of goodwill between parties as LL saw you as wanting to do a signing over a major holiday, and you saw LL as not including a negotiated clause in the lease (whether that is actually the fault of LL or the agent we'll never know.)
I wonder if one possible compromise is to threaten LL that you'll take him to small claims, which you can argue you'll win, so you'll stand down if he/she sends you the majority of your money, keeping some portion of it (you can negotiate how much) for the hassle of you having reneged.
The fact that the apartment is an iffy portion of Bushwick might color your thinking, but it's really not relevant.
P.S.: Sorry about your mom. That's hard.
DG Neary Realty
Armchair lawyer inododo has a definitive answer despite never having read the lease. If any interpretation could be gleaned from the incomplete picture we have, it would be just the opposite. Generally leases are written to have joint and several responsibility. You executed the lease, you paid, you took the keys. There its no such thing as "minority party".
Are you claiming fraud?
Has the C of O between subsequently issued?
You can bring your claim to Small Claims Ct, but $5000 is the max. If you break up one incident into multiple cases, the defendant will simply move to have them consolidated which will be granted and likely cause you additional delay before your case is heard.
Thanks for laying out the recommended steps and expectation (#5) in outline form. I will look into each one of the steps to see what I should take action on. Yes, I wrote this also as a warning to other neonates to the NYC rental market like myself.
Also, I believe these are outfits set up in a very maze like fashion so you do not know what organization is behind it all. I do have the landlord's name and address on the non-executed lease.
The main agent (#2) I spoke to first indicated he had to talk to his "partner," then later he let me know that he works for somebody (while talking to him on the day I submitted the checks). Agent #2 is a Hasidic Jew and it sounds like all the main players are. Agent #1 who first showed us the apt. was a Caucasian tenant of the LL, who reportedly got a small fee to be the front person for first contact with and showing of apts to prospective clients. Agent #1 was the one to reassure my husband during our first visit that that area of Bushwick was very safe and there are a number of venues opening up in the immediate nabe.
That was my own thought about the lack of an executed lease and that was why initially I was even opposed to the $1900 "penalty."
However, as I stated, we were just too overwhelmed with other life matters to deal with this and we wanted the matter settled fast to move on to other rental considerations for S and friends. However, as you read, we gave an inch and then the LL's agent got even more empowered and demanded more.
Sorry, I realized after posting that my breakdown of the rent was not correct (my grief over the sudden loss of mom leaves me very sorrowful and full with emotions so that affects my thinking). The total given to LL's agent was $7600, the eventual rent agreed to was $3800/ month after the LL's agent said S and friends had to move in on 4/1/12 to get the original stated rent of $3200/ month.
Also sorry about your mother.
Thanks for helping me to abbreviate my thoughts! And thanks to all of you for our condolences.
I realize that the Bushwick nabe has nothing to do with the "lease." The reality was I felt that I was rushed and did not even pick up on the missing clause for the parking bay (the perk would have been advantageous for one of the would be tenants). That was the initial reason for telling S to halt all signing with the lease. Then I found out about the COO issues through the DOB and I mentioned all reasons to the LL's broker (stupid me saying too much), so agent #2 honed in on the problem with the Bushwick nabe as unacceptable for canceling the lease. Though I mentioned that a bigger concern was that my S and friends might be evicted for living in a building that had not submitted all documents requested by DOB. Agent #3, negotiatior, dismissed that as a valid concern.
The LL and his agents are beyond threatening at this point. My husband had threatened to go to NYS Supreme Court and asked for their lawyer's name (husband is a lawyer), but unfortunately, my husband did not follow up. I do not expect husband to initiate since he does not hassles. (haha, that is why he is only working very selectively now).
A bit confused about the nature of the agreement (you refer to amount agreed upon).
Did both parties have a fully agreed upon (signed) contract?
What was your certified check in payment of? (What does contract say this is for)?
If you are going to go to court on this, you need to vastly simplify and remove any personal/emotional information.
Your point about the defendant just requesting small claims ct to consolidate the multiple claims is a good one. I have been disinclined to go this route. THough hubby wants other families to take responsibility for foing after their portion of withheld $.
1) I believe there was fraud in representing me as a tenant on the lease (there was no discussion or agreement on that).
2) I was asked to sign as a co-signer but my then current credit history, income were not checked for purpose of my being any way responsible for the lease (though I had given some older account info initially).
3) I do want to report to NYS DA Office and Consumer Protection Agency on the high pressure rental tactics, misrepresentation (of myself as a tenant and the missing bay parking clause on the lease).
4) I also want to file a complaint to DOB that at the time the lease was drawn there were missing documents LL needed to file with DOB. I am not sure it matters that the LL is in full compliance now, if that is the case?
1) The agreement was for $3800/ month rent, with one month rent and one month security deposit ($7600) to be paid to LL at time lease and keys were picked up. I did not understand how the LL could be so sloppy and not insist on all signatures for the lease before keys would be turned over. But apparently, this outfit only cares about getting the money first. And, "possession is 90% of the law"?
2) The contract had only the LL's signature and mine as co-signer. There were still empty spaces for FIVE tenants and ONE guarantor to sign the last page of the lease when I left the agent's office with the keys (after leaving behind the 2 certified checks for total of $7600 or $3800 each with each labeled clearly, "First month rent" and "One Month Security."
3) I know. All of you are helping me in this regard. I started writing last night while I was very tired and could not think in an altogether clear or organized manner and after a good sobbing over mom's death, so yes, I have to work on refining this a lot.
5) call Arnold Diaz-- Shame shame shame
I think that is a good idea! However, I think I will do that first with mom's "hospital-induced" early demise. Shame, shame, shame Downtown Hospital and Beth Israel Hospital.
Seriously, I do think this rental lease issue is a larger problem with all the crooked dealings by brokers and LLs, especially in this overheated rental market.
"Generally leases are written to have joint and several responsibility."
Perhaps, but does that come into play before the lease is executed? Even if it says that the lease is considered executed if LL and a subset of tenants have signed and delivered (I've never seen that on a standard lease form), the OP did not sign as a tenant.
Your case hinges on whether the lease documentation states the names of each tenant in the text (I assume it does) because that establishes inonada's point that there is no executed contract if each person's required signature was not given. There is no contract with you as signatory if you were not the only one in the lease text.
You need to go back to them and threaten to do what ab11218 says and offer a settlement on the 1/2 month terms; show that you have done the paperwork and are on the verge of filing if they do not pay up right now. THen follow through if they don't.
If you go the court route...
If you try to file 5 separate cases for $1520, doesn't each claimant have to prove they paid $1520 to either you or the agent or the landlord? Did all five even actually pay $1520 to someone back in April?
Don't ever negotiate with multiple people again.
We already offered to settle for 1/2 month but that was when agent #3 upped the "penalty" to a full month.
Yes, there is proof that the other 4 tenants (besides my son) paid me $1520 each either in personal check or certified check.
Ionada, your logical thinking is something I follow completely, but I do not know the intricacies of contract law for rental leases. So, I or husband will have to follow up on this research.
You are right. That lease was inconsistent in regards to where I stood. The lease named me as a tenant, as well as spelling out the names of all 5 tenants and the guarantor's name (also as tenant, now that I think of it). However, I was asked to pen in a line for my signature and to write below the line, Co-signer since my name was originally nowhere in the final page of the lease where there were lines for signature for the 5 tenants and the guarantor (their names all typed out in the final page).
Below the line for the guarantor's signature was typed in "Guarantor." So again another inconsistency. The guarantor was named a tenant in the beginning of the lease but then was expected to sign in the position of a guarantor.
That doesn't matter. It didn't matter to them when they doubled the penalty unilaterally. Offer them the half month settlement on threat and evidence of intent to sue and demand they abide by the original verbal agreement.
Your choice whether you sue them once for $5000 or try to herd cats to sue 5 separate times. I'd be surprised if the other tenants just sat there out $1520 without doing anything themselves for 4 months.
> Perhaps, but does that come into play before the lease is executed?
You have concluded that the lease isn't executed. I don't know how you reach that conclusion. I haven't reached any conclusion on that matter, but I did take note of the fact that money changed hands, keys were delivered, and signatures (possibly but not definitively incomplete) appear on both sides of the agreement.
There is no such thing as a "minority party" and the fact that a signatory or party to the lease is not a tenant is not of primary relevance.
One of the fathers wanted to go to small claims court for the entire amount but nixed the idea when hubby told him the $7600 was over the small claims ct amount. He also happens to be the only one of other tenants' parent not working. The other 3 parents are extremely busy and one is out of state.
They have been kind to give us time to handle this without any complaints (except perhaps for the parent who is at home). I feel I need to turn my attention to this matter now that my pressing family/ personal issues are no more. I just need to strategize and I am using the expertise here to form a plan of action.
The good news is that after two more lease attempts, S is finally settled happily in a rental that is working out for him and his friends.
1. I feel for you - but you might have fouled up
2. once a tenant signs a lease he forfeits 1st months rent and security if he doesnt follow thru
3. some of what you describe smacks of fraud
4. but NY sets a high threshold to assertion of a fraud claim
5. I havent read your whose post but if you feel aggrieved sue in Small Claims Court
6. you will have to do so in Brooklyn because Suffolk Small Claims Court doesnt have jurisdiction
over a defendant who lives or works in Brooklyn
The point here is whether we can even consider the lease as having been fully and correctly signed and thus fully executed? Remember I was the only one who signed and I really had no official capacity in the lease (I was not intended to be a tenant) unless you consider the "Co-signer" signature as a fully executed lease, even though all the other major players/ tenants named (the guarantor also incorrectly named as tenant) had not signed.
My role was as the "adult" parent who made the contacts and negotiated terms for the lease. Just as if I were the personal broker for my S and friends.
RLR, you signed the lease. Period. It doesn't matter whether you signed it as a tenant, a guarantor, or as an "adult" parent (which, incidentally, your kid is also a legal adult).
So there is the other opinion that only one signature by someone who was misrepresented as a tenant is enough to make this an ironclad lease? NYCMatt, that is why I put quotes around the word "adult" for myself, recognizing the tenants as adults, though supposedly with less life experience so I handled some of these details. It turned out none of us were "adults" when it came to dealing with the slippery slope of NYC rental market. Though I have to say I learned a lot about the darker side of human nature in all this (not just by reading books, watching movies, but in interacting with seedy characters in real life).
With all due respect take your lumps and move on. They are willing to return half. Is the difference worth youraggravation, when youy are simultaneously focused on your mother's death. That's how you got into this mess you had too much going on.
Small Claims is also a laughable idea given the difference between what they are offering and the maximum allowable claim. It may be 6 months before your case would even be called and you dont get to pick the date. If you try nonsense with multiple claims, expect multiple appearances while it gets fixed back to one case. But suing the Hasidim in Brooklyn, ... even the Kings Cty DA thinks twice.
Haha, huntersburg, now you are naive, "They SAID they WERE willing to take half the $7600," but it was no guarantee. In fact, based on previous hx, I would say they would have continued playing hardball and eventually would have taken the whole amount anyway. These are like bullies who are not satisfied until they get everything they can from people who back down.
I do have some time in the months to come and I hope to address this in a more equitable manner through whatever channels I have researched to be appropriate. We never took possession of the apt. and I gave them notice about the missing clause and unsigned lease by the tenants/ guarantor in a very timely manner (given the fact that they had also used very strong sales pressure tactics to push this matter through before all parties could be gotten together to even read and respond to lease terms. Whether I have a case will be determined by the powers that be. But certainly I will not just drop this matter. That is not what I have chosen to do.
"Sunday, 4/1/12 - On first visit to a Bushwick Brooklyn apt. ... I brought check for $3200 as requested by Landlord (LL)'s agent #1 to put down deposit of one month rent. We were told that two other parties had submitted applications for the apt. And we needed to bring check in to show our serious interest and not have apt. rented out first to other interested parties.
2) Monday, 4/2/12 - I get call from LL's agent #2 that there was a problem and the $3200 rent was only good if my S and friends had moved in on 4/1/12, the same day we had seen the apt. ... rent would be $4000/ month for a later move in,"
This makes it look like they were planning some sort of scam from the outset. Asking you to sign for the apartment on the same day that you first see it isn't a surprise in a tight rental market, but imposing a 25% rent increase, totaling nearly $10,000 per year, because you didn't move in in under 24 hours, seems ridiculous.
Is this standard these days?
Here's an idea if you can pull it off: get part of it back through badgering, and then do small claims for the rest.
EXACTLY! This thing smelled of a rat from the beginning. I should have known better but I heard the rental market was brutal and that Bushwick was up and coming (I did not realize until later that this only applies to certain parts of Bushwick). But the tactics from the beginning were troubling. I was just anxious to get this thing going for S and friends because their other party of 5 guys had already signed (yes, actually signed) a lease 2 blocks away. Also, S and his group had just lost another apt. in the same area because they did not act the first day. So I had that as the context of what influenced my actions.
Inonada, excuse my ignorance. How do you badger people who are so shrouded in mystery with only the lease address for the LL and cell phones for the other agents? Would that not be considered harassment if I tried repeatedly to "badger" them. These people give me the creeps. I would rather deal with the proper authorities from this point on.
Also, Triple, I think there are indeed unscrupulous people in the rental market taking advantage of the very tight supply, especially for "well priced" units. I see what used to be predominantly "Black" neighborhoods in Brooklyn turning over as other groups buy them out, renovate (at times cheaply) and then charge fairly high rental rates for border neighborhoods.
I'm sorry for your loss of your Mom, and I'm sorry you had to go through this. But now it's time to keep it simple and get it done.
Have your son's four friends paid 20% each toward the $7,600? If they have, you're only out $1,520, and you wiggled out of this scam relatively unscathed. People are scammed for a heckuva lot more, and it sounds like you're dealing with a lot now. Let it go.
If your son's four friends have *not* paid, and the $7,600 is all *your* money, I would still go to small claims court, and try to get back $5,000. Keep it simple, let them give you the max if there was indeed fraud, and take your lumps. In the grand scheme of things, the $2,600 deficit is still not that much.
Finally, I have to throw this question out there, because I don't know.....is it common in a rental to submit certified checks before looking over a lease (signed or not)? I mean, the LL could have verbally promised you five cars in the parking bay, he could have promised you a rose garden --- isn't it the norm to read the lease before submitting the certified checks? I could be wrong about the entire process, I don't know at what point it is customary to exchange funds. I know when purchasing, there is no money that changes hands until the signed contract has been executed.
If you cant even find them now (they have no other listings), it is a scam and even the proper authorities will not be able to help you. Even if you sue them, how do you expect the "authorities" to serve them or find them if you can't?
> Inonada, excuse my ignorance. How do you badger people who are so shrouded in mystery with only the lease address for the LL and cell phones for the other agents?
That's not the only reason inododo's suggestion is stupid. If they give you $1 or $7599, that check will be evidence of a settlement when you show up to court seeking more money.
Landlord's oral promise about parking will be hard to prove.
Emails are another story however.
I am getting tired of this. This is more therapy session for the OP than strategy session.
If she doesnt want to deal with her adversaries AND cannot find them, what hope did she ever have. What did she plan to achieve coming here? Suing them is pretty self explanatory- we dont help there much. Everyone on this board knows that complaining to the DA, REBNY, or DOB wont ger her any tangible result. It was all about creating leverage with the agents, which she is shying away from.
Just call the local TV station already (Howard Thompson's "Help Me Howard", Arnold Diaz's "Hall of Shame"), you know you want to!
Don't forget to include the following though, because I like to know why that info is relevant:
>>>"Agent #2 is a Hasidic Jew and it sounds like all the main players are. Agent #1 who first showed us the apt. was a Caucasian..."
I did email agent #2 immediately upon departing the rental office (might have been rented for short term use but I am thinking that is a way to trace agent #2, at least) letting him know that the lease could not be signed because of the missing parking bay clause. The date and time on the email will show that it was shortly after money was paid but lease was not returned with all signatures.
cresent, I beg to differ. The remarks made have reinforced certain ideas of my own or have given me things to think about. I believe the address on the lease for the LL is legitimate. So, my formal complaint(s) will be to that address. Also, another option is to go back to the Bushwick unit and find out from current tenants who the LL is and if that is the same person on the lease I have. More than anything else, this thread has allowed me to focus on what the issues were and to work on refining my version of what happened to the court and other authorities.
Eceryone, Don't let crescent's comment make you think this was a futile exercise or a therapy session. I want to thank all of you with your sincere attempts to assist with this matter and to read through so many details. Hugs to you all across cyberspace.
I wondered about using the the ethnic descriptions, just as I wonder about this:
"I see what used to be predominantly "Black" neighborhoods in Brooklyn turning over as other groups buy them out, renovate (at times cheaply) and then charge fairly high rental rates for border neighborhoods."
I was struck by social phenomena with different ethnic groups staking out various parts of NYC. Also, I think the "Caucasian" person might have been part of the ploy to present an area as safer than it actually was. Let's face it. Race does matter, even in this day and age, in terms of perceptions of safety and danger in a neighborhood.
Hmm, interesting. A google search indicates the landlord's address provided on the lease is a tax-exempt congregation in Brooklyn, NY.
You can look up ACRIS to verify the owner of the property.
The two of you are remarkably naive.
Take the 1 month back and agree to the 1 month fee. Then go to small claims and argue undue influence. You will win. make you you have everything documented.
Don't tell them your plan. Make them think you are settling with the 1 month fee. Only when you have your 50% back then go to small claims.
No one on this board is a lawyer. But didn't you say your husband was? If so, he's in the best position to say whether you have an executed contract or not. He's also in the best position to suggest what to do to get your money back whether part, all or none.
>No one on this board is a lawyer.
>But didn't you say your husband was?
She said her husband is a crappy lawyer:
"My husband had threatened to go to NYS Supreme Court and asked for their lawyer's name (husband is a lawyer), but unfortunately, my husband did not follow up. I do not expect husband to initiate since he does not hassles. (haha, that is why he is only working very selectively now)."