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Signed a lease to rent a condo without board approval

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Signed a lease to rent a condo without board approval

Postby apartmentdrama » Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:42 am

Hi, I signed a lease for a condo a few weeks ago (June 1 start date). Since it was a condo and not a co-op, I wasn’t concerned that there didn’t seem to be a lengthy board approval process. All of this was handled through a real estate agent working with a major firm (I signed the lease in person in their fancy office). I was told that I’d be treated like a regular resident in the building and could get maintenance through the property management and apply to use the building amenities (gym, etc.). The landlord gave me the key and I scheduled a move for this Thursday. However, after numerous calls and e-mails, I couldn’t get any info about the move-in rules (times, COI) etc.

Finally this Friday, the building super gave me the info about the COI from the movers and added me to the building maintenance system. But then in the afternoon, the property management company sent an email saying a couldn’t move in until I complete their approval process (yes, on Friday afternoon before Memorial Day Weekend). The real estate agent is now telling me she’s not sure if I’ll be able to move in, but the owner told me to just move in as planned since, apparently, none of his prior tenants have had approval before.

Redditors have advised me not to move in as the landlord recommended. Can the landlord claim that I still owe them rent since I have the keys? Also, what should I do if he refuses to request board approval? I never planned to be in the middle of their drama. Thanks!
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Re: Signed a lease to rent a condo without board approval

Postby TenantNet » Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:14 am

We're not familiar with how condo rules can impact tenants' getting an apartment and you may need to consult an attorney - for two reasons ... a) for accurate information, and b) if needed, to pressure the landlord and/or management. Make sure if you do, you speak with an attorney who has experience with condo situations. Ask them upfront. Don't ask some guy down the street who also does slip and falls, and immigration work.

Seems you've expended time and money on this, any rent and deposit you've paid, paying of movers and moving expenses, and you might have to pay for a hotel while this is being sorted out. Make sure you keep receipts for everything you spend, down to the penny.

I would also start recording conversations and phone calls. NY is a one party consent state, so it's legal to record conversations without telling the opposite person. Only one party to the conversations (you) needs to give consent. Keep a diary of anything and everything that is said and done by you, and others, in this situation. Keep originals of all letters or documents you receive.

The LL, management company and even the agent might have liability here. You've indicate they blame any delay on management's approval process. Get that in writing or on tape. You don't want them coming up with new excuses or claiming it had something to do with an "Act of God" (i.e., fire, flood, etc.)

Do you have a lease? Did you pay rent and deposit? Brokers Fees? (the situation for brokers fees in still in flux but as on now, they are still legal) You said they gave you a key, so that might mean you have legal possession whether or not you have moved in any furniture. If it were me, I'd start sleeping there to bolster any claim of possession. Consider getting an air mattress and sleep on the floor if needed. You know what they say about possession being 9/10th of the law, well that has some merit in many situations.

Redditors? You mean the web site Reddit? You are joking, right? Why not try Craig's List ... also joking (please send us the URL in private email as I'd like to see what is going on with that). Do they know the law? Are they experienced in real estate matters? Again, speak with an attorney who knows this stuff.

One we can suggest is Kevin McConnell of the law firm Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donohue. Disclosure: we used their firm's services about 20 years ago, however they are not an advertiser on this site, so we have no financial relationship with them. We mention McConnell as he is well-known and specializes in Coop/Condo matters. They are legit, albeit on the expensive side.

You can also try the other attorneys that advertise here - some are perfectly capable in condo issues, you will have to ask them. But they are well-known capable tenant attorneys.

I wish we could offer more, but co-op and condo laws and rules are an entire different thing than regular landlord-tenant stuff.
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