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Real Estate Broker Misrepresented Illegal Apartment; $1,000 Fee Is Refunded to Lessee

Posted by New York Tenant on September 19, 2001 at 03:26:36:

This case is highlighted in the September 19th online edition of the New York Law Journal. You have to subscribe to the NYLJ to read the full decision; trial subscriptions are free:

Plaintiff lessee contracted with defendant real estate broker to locate an apartment. Plaintiff moved in on Sept. 6, 2000, and paid defendant a $1,000 brokerage commission for locating the apartment. In March 2001, after a building department inspection found the apartment was illegal, plaintiff was forced to move out and relocate to another apartment, incurring $375 in moving expenses. Plaintiff sought $1,375, as a refund of the defendant's brokerage commission and his moving expenses. The court awarded plaintiff $1,000, saying he was entitled to rescind the contract; defendant misrepresented the apartment's status because it was not in fact a legal apartment. It said that because plaintiff was forced to relocate due to the apartment's illegal status, the proper remedy was to refund the commission. However, the court found no contractual basis to hold defendant liable for plaintiff's $375 moving expenses.

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