TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



Security Deposit Deducted for Front Door Lock Changed

Issues unrelated to specific categories below

Moderator: TenantNet

Security Deposit Deducted for Front Door Lock Changed

Postby glau » Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:24 pm

Hi All:

I am writing see does anyone has experience with this problem. I recently moved out of an apartment in Brooklyn before the lease ends due to change in job location. The landlord lives downstairs and there are 6 other units in the building. I worked with the landlord, found him a tenant replacement to take over my lease, left the apartment as I have moved in (I took photos before I moved) and gave the keys to the new tenant. The landlord thanked me for all my effort and told me he will send me back the security deposit in 2-3 weeks.

I received the security deposit today with around a $900 dollar deduction; enclosed is a letter saying "Please note that upon your department locks have to be changed". The landlord charged me $900 to change the lock for the outer and inner front entrance doors (both magnetic lock), the mailbox, and the lock of my previous apartment. I did not break any of those locks but I did not take photo of the front door and mailbox before I moved out as evidence.

I am currently reading through my rights and I don't believe it is my responsibilities to pay for the lock changes especially I did not break any of them. I am definitely going to fight him for the money back, so I am wondering have any one came across similar situation and have any insights.

Thanks for reading.
glau
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:08 pm

Could you explain this better? Did you change the locks to your apartment (from the locks you had when you moved into the apartment)?

What did you mean by "upon your department locks have to be changed." Just a typo? Makes no sense.

You posted in NYC General Discussion. Is the unit rent regulated? Did you ever check? With six units, there's a chance it might be. Was the building constructed prior to 1974? Six units or more? Not a coop or condo? Not legitimately deregulated due to high rent or high income? Not a J-51 rehab?

Normally leaving prior to the end of a lease could get the LL forcing you to pay the rent for the remainder of the term, but it appears the LL accepted a new tenant relieving you of that liability.

BTW, never give keys to the new tenant. You must legally return possession to the LL by giving the keys to the LL. He can give the keys to the new tenant.
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: 9248
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Postby glau » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:41 pm

Hi, thanks for your reply. The building is not rent regulated. It is a townhouse with 6 rental units and the landlord is living on the ground floor unit.

I did not change any lock to the apartment or in the building when I left. I lived there for two months only and did not modify anything. I gave the tenant the keys because the landlord was out of town during the week of transition. The landlord asked me to give the key directly to the tenant since they are taking over my lease.

Pardon for the typo I meant departure not department. The landlord sent me a letter saying--
Dear Madam, Please note that upon your departure locks had to be changed.
Inner and outer entrance doors
Mail Box
Apartment door


That is all the explanation he has written in the letter. I have the lease assignment agreement signed with the new tenant and gave the landlord a copy. The landlord accepted their rent and deposit and said he will return my security deposit. I did not know he will deduct anything until I received the letter. I also do not understand how anything outside of the apartment I occupied and did not break is my responsibility.
glau
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:52 pm

First, no building is rent regulated. Units can be rent stab (not buildings). Also, many people confuse townhouses with tenements or brownstones. But that doesn't matter here.

If there are six or more units, then the unit (all the units) should have been rent stab initially back in 1984 except for the owner's unit. You should get a rent history from DHCR. If it is (or should be rent stab), then you might be due an overcharge award, or can be used for leverage. You can always file a complaint.

I asked about the locks as some tenants change the locks the minute they move in (not a bad idea for places that have supers with sticky fingers), but fail to return the locks to the original key when they leave. Normally you don't need a locksmith to do either, but it depends on the complexity of the lock.

In any case, you didn't change any locks. Then the LL has no legal basis in our opinion to charge anything to the deposit assuming there were no other legit damages.

Just to make sure, check your lease. There might be charges listed in the lease, but even if that is the case, it's not something that should be charged against the deposit.

Even if you changed the apartment locks, that's no reason to change the locks to the outer door. This is a greedy landlord who is inventing things.

I would consider going to the Attorney General's office, or filing in small claims court.
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: 9248
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Postby glau » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:14 pm

Once again, thanks so much for the quick reply. I just want the confirmation that the LL really has no basis to charge me for the changes for the outer door. I double checked my lease also, and I signed a boiler plate lease that did not stipulate I have to pay any fee for lock changes.

I will definitely take legal procedure against this as I don't see any other way I can get back my $900.

Since I am very new to this, is there any free legal advice/service you would recommend before I go ahead and file the claims?

Thanks!
glau
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:33 pm

Chances are the LL didn't really change the locks. Are you in touch with any of the other tenants? They would know as their keys would have to change as well.

If you challenge it, you can force the LL to produce receipts for the actual cost of making the changes.

Even so, that is not the issue, changing locks is not damages that can be covered with a security deposit.
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: 9248
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Postby glau » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:30 am

Unfortunately I am not in touch with any of the other tenants.

I will seek legal advice on how to proceed. Thanks for all your help!
glau
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:08 pm


Return to NYC General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests