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Old 11-19-2012, 12:00 PM   #1
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Landlord dispute


Hello, Everyone.
I'm new here and hope, I'm posting in right place.
I found an apartment were i was supposed to move on December 1st. It was in need of renovation. After talking to a landlord, we agreed on terms, signed contract for renovation and my guys started working. Initial agreement was for $10.000 and they paid me $5000 first payment/deposit. I used my friends company's name just to have some paperwork. He didn't touch the money. Just helped me with the laborers. I'd already spent $4000, when hurricane Sandy hit NY and apartment got flooded by 5 feet of water. Everything that was done was completely destroyed. Contractors came and checked the damages. Now the renovation will run at least $28.000. Landlord doesn't want to pay that much money. For 3 weeks nothing was done in the apartment. It already stinks and has mold everywhere. Finally, I've decided to move on and told them, that i won't be renting an apartment and offered them $1000 left from the initial deposit. He didn't take the money - wants entire sum of $5000 back or job done in previous terms. I told him this was not possible, but he wants to go to court to get money. I tried to explain to him, that natural disasters can be reason for contract annulment, but he still wants his money back.
If anyone knows, does he have any legal rights in this case?
Thank you.

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Landlord dispute


Need to be talking to a lawyer not us.
Still trying to figure out if it's apartment that you do not own why are you even paying to fix anything?

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Need to be talking to a lawyer not us.
Still trying to figure out if it's apartment that you do not own why are you even paying to fix anything?
Because they wanted to do renovation and it would cost them at least 10K. I work in the construction industry and could do much better job with better quality materials then they would. That's why they agreed to pay me 10K to do renovation, but whatever was done, got destroyed by water.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Landlord dispute


Where is the insurance company on this? Seems to me they should be involved.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:10 PM   #5
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Where is the insurance company on this? Seems to me they should be involved.
They didn't have flood insurance. Homeowners wouldn't pay anything and FEMA is only giving them for boiler/heater, because it wasn't their primary residence.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:32 PM   #6
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Landlord dispute


I'm going to move this to off topic----

You need to talk to a lawyer---I hope you had a contract spelling out the work and terms of payment--

A good contract attorney that specializes in contract work----I believe you may be fine----it depends a lot on the contract---even without one you should be is a better position that the building owner---
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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Landlord dispute


I agree with other you definely need a lawyer to assit you on this one and this will be more than a simple matter to slove and make sure you have good copy of contract and all the details on them plus the small FPN ( fine print note ) as well

I been in EC bussiness for many years and I will suggest that you get a hold of lawyer in your area and go from there.

Did the place was done before hurrance sandy show up ? if so and not occupied that time it may fall on the GC / Building owner but check it out what the guideline what they can cover and what not.

Bon Chance to slove this one.

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Marc
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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Landlord dispute


A lawyer will be able to help you sort this out, but you have to decide at what cost. Even though $5000 is a lot of money, it's not that much in the big scheme of things, and you can easily rack up attorney fees for more than that if you let things escalate. So it doesn't necessarily matter who's legally right, what matters is how much it will cost each of you to find out.

You have to decide how much the $5000 is worth to you, both of you are probably better off settling this than taking it to court. Maybe it would be worth it just to hire a lawyer for an hour to write up a letter and suggest a settlement where nobody wins and both lose some money.

Also, you probably don't want to drag your friend and his business into this mess either, so eating a few grand might be worth it in the long run.

If you feel strongly about it, then you can fight it, but be prepared that you and your friends operation might be scrutinized in the process
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:42 PM   #9
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You have two issues here to think about. To the extent you can, I think it is in your best interest to separate them.

One, you have the lease you signed establishing you as a tenant. I don't know how it all works in the context of something like Sandy but certainly you cannot be expected to be held to a lease when you cannot inhabit the space.

Two. You kind of muddled things stepping in as sort of, almost, contractor. However, I cannot see that he has a leg to stand on holding you to the orginal price of repairs and enhancement you were making when the whole playing field changed. That strikes me as rather absurd.

As mentioned, I would talk with an attorney about this so you know where you stand. You can then decide how much time, energy and money you want to spend defending your position. Obviously, if he comes after you, you have no choice but to deal with it all legally and possibly with some counter claim.

I had two great attorneys in the City but do not know if they are still practicing. One specialized in real estate matters---for a price and I am sure would know someone good. I am not sure you can private mail yet but try me if interested. Not sure where exactly you are but there is probably a landlord/tenant union that can help you with finding counsel if nothing else.

Instincts would suggest to me that paying a bit to the piper and being able to walk from this worth the money. I do know money is tight but you don't want to be trying to rent something else in or around the City right now with a landlord/tenant dispute on record? And it is going to take awhile to sort out all that Sandy did. The further away from it you can get the better.

Last edited by user1007; 11-19-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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i would tell the guy to sue me(you). you didn't cause the damages, nature did. liability falls on the owner and/or insurance co. once he finds out what it will take to actually sue you, he will forget about it. jmo
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
i would tell the guy to sue me(you). you didn't cause the damages, nature did. liability falls on the owner and/or insurance co. once he finds out what it will take to actually sue you, he will forget about it. jmo
Come on fix it. I can tell you have not spent much time in NYC? Every real and at all meaningful discussion usually does start with a confrontration but you never suggest some ultimate thing like a lawsuit or you may just get it. And then, the dancing starts and you have to drop what you are doing to respond to the suit. If the guy suing you has nothing else to do or attorneys on retainer, they will run you and your counsel ragged just responding to this that and other things.

And right now, the hurricane has constricted certain levels of a rental market already and for always highly competitive around the NYC area. This person needs a place to live at the end of the day or come December 1. He does not want a landlord/tenant dispute on record. Nobody will take time to listen to the details if they have 10 others with no such things attaced to them.

I don't think the guy will pursue this very far but he sounds like a piece of work just suggesting the work be done on property badly damaged since the agreement to fix it---shady as it is---was struck. If he keeps fluffing peacock feathers? Send a nicely written letter, on attorney letterhead, across his bow. It may just piss him off though.

If the OP cannot document that he did the repairs up to the amount spent, bite the bullet and give back what he advanced minus what you bought and the work you put in. No more no less though. Get released from all this in writing. And buy a digital camera for all work with people like this!

Good news is this guy would have made one horrible landlord even if not hit by a hurricane? In NYC dollars, that alone might be worth a few grand US learning lesson?

Definitely check to see what the small claims limit is in NYC/NY or New Jersey State these days and whether the guy has to suit that way or if he can go broader.

OP, the good news in this is perhaps you can find a better place with a more humane landlord that will let you fix it up? You know you cannot live with mold and all that though right?

Last edited by user1007; 11-19-2012 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:47 PM   #12
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You may want to record that you did ANY work there. I'm thinking he may say that you took $5000 and never did anything.

I wonder how the responsibility for damages is determined. Clearly if you installed a lot of sheetrock before the flood and it was ruined, it was a part of the structure and it is the property owners problem. But if you just had a lot of sheetrock outside of the structure and the flood came and ruined it, I would think you would be responsible for that loss, same as if it were stolen.

I don't think you're in any trouble here. He can't make you occupy the dwelling.

If anything, you could sue him for not letting you continue your work there. If you signed a contract for $10,000 of work, you still have $5000 to do. We don't care if he has a hangnail or if his mother died or a hurricane hit.

Yeah, that's the way I'm thinking. You have mouths to feed for crying out loud.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:51 PM   #13
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By the way, I have a small house to rent out here...900 square foot one bedroom house, 1200 square foot garages. Small town living, $750/mo. Get on a bus.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:57 PM   #14
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Come on fix it. I can tell you have not spent much time in NYC?
and there are nothing but angels, around here, ay.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:43 PM   #15
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The op is not responding because he is on a bus to Iowa.

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