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Broke the lease, new tenant moved on, Sec deposit at risk

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Broke the lease, new tenant moved on, Sec deposit at risk

Postby NYC_Dweller » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:51 pm

Hi everyone,

I just recently was affected by a reorg in my company and had to relocate from NYC to Europe. I gave notice to my landlord back in July that I will be moving out 09/30. My lease was just renewed this June. When I approached my landlord through the representative on site (the super) I was let to believe that if we can find a new tenant to rent the apartment I will receive my security deposit back. I vacated the apartment 10 days early so that it could be prepared for the new tenant who was identified to take over the leave in October. The super assessed the apartment and everything was in good order. I subsequently send numerous mails to the management company which all were not responded to. Initially I was asking if they can kindly electronically transfer the money into my account, as time passed I got suspicious wondering if there was something else at play. I just finally managed to speak to someone at the management company and he basically was "offering" to pay a portion back as he pointed out they would be entitled to the whole deposit since I broke the lease.
This doesnt seem right at all. We have been great tenant and always paid our lease on time throughout September. Since I perceived the management company as reliable and we had such a great record I didnt even think about stop paying rent in August. There is quite a bit of money involved here. The rep stated that he needs to go back to speak to the landlord as whether they will give me my deposit back. I dont want to sit on my hands and hope that someone here can point me to relative case law and or resources. If it gets worse and they really don't pay me back I would even consider legal counsel.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:09 pm

When did a new tenant move in? How long was the unit vacant? Did you owe any rent when you left? Any damages?
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Postby NYC_Dweller » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:20 pm

Hi and thanks for responding.

I gave notice that due to my relo I wanted to move out by 09/30. In fact I moved out by 09/20 and the apartment was then prepared for the new tenant to move in either October 1st or possibly mid October. So maximum vacancy was about 2 weeks. The super had confirmed to me in writing that the apartment was in great condition and there were no issues. I didn't owe any rent when I vacated the apartment.

Thanks
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:32 pm

But did a new tenant actually move in?
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Postby NYC_Dweller » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:35 pm

yes a new tenant moved in.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:53 pm

That's the important point. When you sign a lease, you are liable for the rent for the entire term of the lease. That means even if you left on 9/30, you are still liable to the end of the term, even if it's another nine months.

There are exceptions however. In this case the LL is allowing a new tenant to take over, essentially assigning the lease, or creating a new lease. When that happens your liability ends.
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Postby NYC_Dweller » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:01 pm

Thats great and is what it felt it should be. However the Management company is telling me that they are not obligated to pay the deposit back because I broke the lease. I pointed out to them that the apartment was signed off by the super in good condition and the new tenant moved in right after we left. When I was researching this online I didnt find anything that outlines tenants rights to the security deposit in case of a break of the lease.
The new lease that was signed was increased by the way as well. Where would I need to look fo this in terms of legislation or case law. The rep from the management company claimed that he was talking to their lawyers and they basically confirmed that they were not obligated to pay me back in full instead he was "offering" to me me back a portion, which doesnt make any sense. In fact I dont even thing that he was talking to their lawyers they are just looking to keep the deposit.
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Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:16 pm

Check the fine print of your lease carefully. Make sure there's not a penalty clause for breaking a lease.

What you're experiencing is the rationale why many tenants do not pay the last month's rent, in order to recover the deposit when they anticipate the LL will play such games. Of course when there are legitimate tenant-caused damages, then the costs can be deducted by the LL or passed on to tenants. But those have to be real damages, not normal wear and tear.
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