Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
My apologies but who declared the unit as 'illegal'--what happened?
I have POA for my landlord. She rented to a couple in 2008. They were good at paying rent until June 2013. They stopped. By August they had also run up a water bill in excess of 1K....1,300, 000 gallons of water in one month. My advise to her was to terminate the least since she had not renewed and they were therefore on a month to month, so she could terminate then and have them out within 15 days and not get played around with in an eviction proceeding. Immediately they turned her in for an illegal uint. I'm helping her now get the unit legal. She lives in NY, hence me being given POA
By the way, she has and has had a certificate to have a non-transient rental with the city and county. The problem is that the apartment had been renovated and made in to two units...her residence and the rental. The problem is she had not gotten the proper permits.
I'm leaving my work now and won't be back near a computer until about 20 minutes from now.
One other note. Her lease with them had them paying the electric (since she was rarely in the apartment) and her covering the water. This explains why they sabotaged the water bill to get even. They had stopped paying in June and the usage went from 13K to 36K to 71 K (at what point the water company contacted me and checked the meter, finding no leak) to 1million 30K before they left. Can she sue for excessive use beyond normal/average usage up to that point? Their deposit went towards only 1 month so they still owe rent. The unit was left in horrible condition and had to be cleaned, repaired and painted. Can she sue for those expenses?
It might have been my fault for not responding within a time frame. I was emailing from my business and got pulled away.
Thank you for your follow-up. Not a problem, let me attempt to respond below. Please let me see if you can review the response, or need further clarification. I have reviewed your facts and now understand the position.
In terms of the unit being 'illegal', if a unit is formally listed as such by the municipality, the landlord CANNOT collect rents on the unit when it is deemed illegal. Arguably the landlord could collect past rents from before the unit was formally designated as such by the city, but the whole primary point of designating something as illegal is to show that it cannot be rented and profited from (be it due to premises being uninhabitable, without utilities, too many people living on premises, or whatever other reason it may be). The landlord can only collect once premises are deemed to be habitable. Until then, while she could pursue an eviction, she cannot formally charge rent for the premises.
This is extremely helpful. In short, she can collect rents that accrued before the city declared the unit "illegal?" And a quick follow up...can she collect for damage/repairs, painting and cleanup, since the deposit went toward paying part of the past due rents? And one final one....the water usage was extreme and way beyond the norm. Though the lease stipulated she cover water, can she collect if the usage was so extreme as to be sabotage?
Thank you for your follow-up. That is exactly right, she can attempt to collect rents until premises were deemed illegal. I say 'attempt' because the other party can indeed claim or pursue a defense that as premises were illegal they do not have to pay, but then what would control is the date by which time the unit was formally deemed to be illegal. The landlord can use the deposit funds for repairs provided that the repairs were caused from the damage the tenants created, and that she sent the tenants a formal invoice and breakdown of damages and costs.
As for water being so extreme, she has the burden of proving that the other parties intentionally and unreasonably utilized the water. If she cannot prove it, she eats the cost, I am afraid.
You have been extremely helpful. Again, sorry to ask so many questions, but is there a Florida case that I can reference that allowed the landlord to collect rents that had accrued prior to the illegal designation? I have had a hard time finding it online. And again, sorry for so many questions but...since they were notified that the deposit was going toward past due rents, can she sue for the damage by the tenants if she now notifies them of her intent? I took photographs of the conditions.
My apologies but I cannot provide you with such extensive case law here. The costs of running such a search through the legal databases on your behalf would be far more than the value that you put down for your question. Again, my apologies, this is something I am not able to provide you with at this time.
As for the deposit being used for past rents, the point of a deposit is to cover any and all damages or overages by the tenant--so if they failed to pay rent and caused, for example $3,000 in damage but they only left a $1,000 deposit, provided the damage can be proven and shown, they can be sued for the $2,000 overage. That is permitted and happens fairly often--the deposit is not a 'cut off' of the maximum the landlord can pursue if there is more damage or debt owed to the landlord by the tenant.
Sir, you have been extremely helpful as well as patient. I'll leave you now. Thanks again and have a great day.
Not a problem and sorry for the earlier miscommunication. Should you need me again, please request me by name and I will be happy to assist (and hopefully far faster this time barring any glitches). Please take and be well!
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