TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Rent Succession in Westchester

Moderator: TenantNet

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby WestchesterRenter5 » Sat Apr 16, 2022 10:12 am

Update for you guys:

My girlfriend decided to hold back on a lawyer, we looked at the court records for the management company, the owners of the unsold shares (Aka the unit), and the company that runs the co-op only have court records for about once per year.

From this information, we drafted a letter that contained all the information that the DHCR customer service rep told us to include. (Claim of succession rights, lived here for 3 years with GMA, want all future renewals placed in her name, respond to us at this address) and we included it with the check payment for this month. It was sent with a certificate of mailing (because they refuse to collect their certified mail, for whatever reason.)

It is with a slight sigh of relief that they cashed the check yesterday, I take this as a good sign? this is not an indication that all is well but we take this as a good sign and them realizing that we do have legal grounds to be here and to fight it might not be the best decision on their end.

Is there any more pertinent information or things we should know from here? I know after searching around on this forum other landlords will refuse to cash the checks and I'm just happy that ours did not.

Oh, I almost forgot we also wrote "(UNIT #) For April 2022 Rent Only" on the check upon the recommendation of this forum. So we will also continue doing this and keeping records of everything, I am also keeping the envelopes their letters come in as per the recommendation of this forum.

Thank you so much for your help so far! I will keep updating this as we gain more insight and hopefully also help someone down the road.
WestchesterRenter5
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby TenantNet » Sun Apr 17, 2022 3:16 pm

I can understand about apprehension about hiring a lawyer can be expensive. But OTOH, succession can be complicated if the LL will not readily agree. Remember the expression, don't be pennywise and pound foolish. It's also better to get all your ducks in order before it becomes a problem.

I would send a copy via certified mail even if the LL refuses to pick it up. Remember, down the road it's a judge that you may have to convince.

With certificate of mailing, you can prove it was sent, but not that it was received. Of course the USPS these days is dropping their own rules big time.

Cashing a check might be good, but it does not, in our opinion, mean they agree to giving your GF succession rights. Only a lease in her name would do that. Plus they might try to impose on you a different lease with less rights and services (this is where a tenant lawyer can be invaluable).

From now on, earmark every single rent payment ((UNIT #) For April 2022 Rent Only). You should probable send certified until the succession issue is settled. After that, Certificate of Mailing forever. (unless you have a bank that send the money and has a receipt).
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9992
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby WestchesterRenter5 » Thu Apr 21, 2022 7:35 am

Understood, and I have relayed that to my GF, she wants to see if we can do without a lawyer first and at the first sign of resistance I believe we will be contacting one.

There has been no update as of yet however today it appears as though her GMA is receiving a letter in the mail from the management company. It's weird because this is a few weeks after we informed them of her passing but I assume they have to because she is the "current tenant".

I relayed the info about the check not being a clear indicator and agree with your opinion as to it's not a confirmation of success however it is smoother than some others have reported on this forum and that is all I was celebrating.

You are saying to send the rent checks via certified mail? I just checked and after they are deposited she receives a picture of the front and back of the checks from the depositing bank that shows the account numbers and the stamps that were used on the checks before depositing. Do you still think it is necessary to send the checks via certified mail?

I can resend the letter via certified mail to the management company. The issue we're having is they have a normal address for the "landlord" but it is just the management company's physical address meanwhile the checks go to the management company's PO box. I guess we can try sending a certified letter to the PO box? I guess sending the letter that way might get better results than to their physical office.
WestchesterRenter5
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 21, 2022 8:35 am

I don't think you answered to my earlier question. Is there a will for the deceased? Any question as to beneficiaries? Did the will appoint an executor? You really need to consult with an estate attorney on this - and one who can appreciate that succession is part of the game, and will understand you will probably also have to consult with a tenant attorney. In my experience, estate attorneys are not tenant attorneys and visa versa. Do NOT get some lawyer who advertises on the back of bus stop benches. In both cases, you need someone who knows what they are doing.

Yes, keep sending by certified mail. Look, I understand that things are expensive. But if your GF intends on long-term occupancy, several thousand now could save much more than that over the long run. Even if you don't retain anyone just yet, I'd go for a consultation. Some lawyers will offer that for free or low-cost. Your local bar association might have a referral list.

From now on, understand that everything you do (and that you document) will likely be seen by a judge, so you're doing all this for his/her eyes. A lot of what judges do is subjective. How hard did you try to do things by the book? Did the LL also show good faith?

In many cases the LL and the management company are one and the same.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9992
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby WestchesterRenter5 » Thu Apr 21, 2022 10:22 am

There was not a will, it was really old and before some significant life events for her grandmother. Essentially everything has been left to her only daughter, which is the GF's mom. And she has been the one that the life insurance paid out to and etc, she is managing everything and I assume was appointed as the executor.

The mother has no desire to move in or claim succession or cause any issue in our succession and if anything would be willing to help. They are a very close family and there are no issues expected from the family side.

In general, this landlord/management company seems decent, nothing shady just the normal buyout offers and some issues but nothing to write home and freak out about.

We are keeping all records as of when this initially happened down to the envelope that the letters arrived in.
Photocopies of the letters, checks, envelopes, and everything before sending letters then stapling USPS receipt to it when sending it.

I have my eye on a lawyer that we will go to if things get rough, we haven't discussed when it will happen however throughout her tenancy here the management company (the only person we have ever dealt with) can be a little hesitant to do stuff but quickly be pushed. Doesn't seems like a law-breaking landlord at least there are no blatant red flags. This is the reason behind following the DHCR guidance first and then getting a lawyer if things go south.

We are currently listening to the advice of a DHCR rep and he is telling us what we should do and specific wording to add to the letters, along with other things I have seen on this forum are what we are basing this off of.

We will continue documenting everything and keeping it for future reference.
WestchesterRenter5
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 21, 2022 10:47 am

If there's no will, chances are they need to go through probate, it can get complicated and that can take a while. You can't just "assume" things happen. It doesn't matter how close the family is. Chances are things are as you say, but still there is the process. That's why an estate attorney is recommended.

A tenant attorney would negotiate with the LL -- chances are she is entitled to a lease in her name, at the same rent. An experienced tenant attorney will know when to pay rent and when to not pay rent. I've heard of cases where a tenant who has not paid rent for a while might be off-the-hook for that rent simply because the LL was not giving them a lease.

You also have to research the LL, how many properties they have, how litigious they might be and which landlord lawyers represent them. It all might work out very easily and simply ... but again, it might not. That's why being prepared is the best course.

DHCR is a very pro-landlord agency and constantly breaks its own laws. Remember, they do not represent you. Seriously, taking the advice of a DHCR rep can be very foolish. I'm not saying they are wrong, and there are some good people there, but that's the exception. When things go south, it might take a lot more effort (and money) to fix things. I'm not suggesting you pick a fight with the LL (indeed, you should try to avoid that), but it is paramount that you know your rights and when to exercise them. DHCR will not give you that other than a fact sheet.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9992
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby WestchesterRenter5 » Thu Apr 21, 2022 3:21 pm

I understand everything you have stated and appreciate it, I don't have any control over how the estate issues are handled, her mother has taken care of all of her grandmother's accounts and otherwise, so (potentially foolishly) I assume there is no issue.

Besides this I agree there is a right time and place for the tenant attorney, however, I also do not have control over that in this situation. I am not the one succeeding it is my GF so when she is ready we will deal with that.

In terms of the landlord, I can't figure out much about them other than they are the landlord for all units in my development and potentially more but not that I can see. After searching the Westchester county court records they do not generally go to court (the landlord or the management corporation). They only have about one record every few years in the court system.

Thank you for the information about the DHCR, I spoke with a few representatives, some of who appeared to not want to do their jobs and were lazy but seem to have built a rapport with this one representative, who is very helpful and clear. We are not putting complete faith in what the DHCR says but are reviewing the fact sheets and listening to what they say and going off that knowledge, advice, and other information from this forum.

From speaking with the porter in the building and other tenants successions happen, so much so that the porter said it is common and waved his hand almost as a motion to dismiss any stress related to it. I am thinking about asking for more information and hoping we can find someone who did succeed with this landlord but have yet to find someone and get a name.

I am very much on the boat that going at the landlord immediately after the grandmothers passing might bring more attention to it and cause more of an issue. We agree that if we can go without a lawyer and have them offer us a lease renewal under the same terms as her grandmother without a lawyer it is the best way to go. When speed bumps are being put on the road is when we will contact an attorney.
WestchesterRenter5
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2022 8:51 pm

Re: Rent Succession in Westchester

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 21, 2022 4:03 pm

I understand you haven't control over this, but you are the one posting here, not your GF. Again, it doesn't matter whether there is an issue or not, or if everyone is happy. It's what is required by law. In my experience, it's usually required when there is no will... then probate would be required by the Surrogate Court. I'm not an expert, but when you think everything is fine, that's when something will happen. That's why they need to consult an estate attorney. He/she can tell you under what circumstances probate would be required.

Just google it and the answer is pretty consistent. See https://probateadvance.com/new-york-probate-laws/ -- and how and when probate can be avoided. If they don't do this by the book, they are asking for trouble. Google around and you will get varying opinions, but pretty much they say that probate is required unless things were arranged ahead of time.

I don't think you should be getting legal advice from the porter or super. In fact, neither you nor your GF should be discussing this at all with them. Whatever you tell them, even in casual conversation, will go right back to the LL.

I can't tell you how many tenants end up in trouble by not getting or heeding good legal advice. And yes, we're not lawyers either, so we encourage you to double-check whatever we've said (but not from the porter).

If you wait for the speed bumps, as you describe them, it might be too late.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 9992
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Previous

Return to NYS General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests