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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89126
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My wife and I were tenants in a house where the linoleum kitchen

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My wife and I were tenants in a house where the linoleum kitchen floor was damaged by a table purchased at a local store. The store is paying us almost $3,000.00 for the damage to repair the entire floor but our lease has ended. I suspect that our former landlord will simply pocket the money for the floor and not repair it from some of his statements. If he does that am I at risk for prosecution for fraud by the store that paid out the money for the claim submitted by me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry to hear about your situation. Can you tell me:

1) Have you already moved out?
2) Did you give the $3,000 to the landlord?
3) Was the restoration already complete when you moved out?
4) Did you use the $3,000 to restore the floor, or not?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ely,



Yes we have moved out of that house as our lease ended on July 31st. I have not given the $3000.00 to the landlord. The restoration has not been started yet and when I asked the landlord questions about activating this process he simply indicated that he wanted me to give him the money instead. The floor has not yet been restored.


Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
C,

Okay - one more question - did the store give you money willingly or via a court order?

If willingly, did you and the store sign off on any type of "agreement" not to pursue this in Court, later?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The company provided the claim settlement willingly. There was no court order. I did sign a release to the company that I would assume all responsibilty for any future liens in regard to this incident . I believe that I released the company from liability for any future lawsuits from this landlord. I am concerned that if the floor is not actually repaired that the landlord may at some point seek further damages from my wife and I. We stopped renting this house because of extremely unfriendly behavior on the part of the landlord.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
C,

Ah, okay. Well, there are a few issues, but nothing that cannot be remedied.

First of all, the company should have dealt directly with the LANDLORD, and not you. This is because they damaged his property; not yours. So they dealt with the wrong company. The money should have gone to him, he should have signed off on the waiver, and then he should have used the money to fix his floor for you.

Also, you cannot release a company from being sued by the landlord on his behalf - only he can - unless he gave you a signed Power of Attorney to act as his agent. But, that is aside the point.

So actually, you have his money for the floor. It should belong to him, because it is his floor. This is the best thing to do. In an analogy, imagine I borrowed your car, and someone hit me. They paid me $10 for repairs. I kept the $10 and gave you back the smashed vehicle.

If he does that am I at risk for prosecution for fraud by the store that paid out the money for the claim submitted by me?

Now what someone SHOULD do in your situation is send the money to the landlord. Or, agree to SPLIT it with him if he is willing.

If you do not wish to to do so, then you can still avoid any impropriety provided you do the following:

1) Send a certified letter to the landlord, that specifically states that the store has paid you X amount of money for the damage of the floor,

2) That he knew of this payment and did not claim it and you consider it yours;

3) However, you are willing to pay whatever reasonably necessary out of the amount paid to you for the floor; and as such

4) Not to deduct any damage for the floor from your deposit, and then simply bill you for the (reasonable) damage separately and/or ahead of time of floor repair.

This is reasonable (we hope that the landlord is not going to demand the whole $3,000 because technically, it is his...).

Provided this is done, and all parties (you and the landlord) come to an agreement, there should not be any problems.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It sounds as if you feel it is important to conduct business regarding this incident by certified letter to establish a paper trail for my protection, correct? The landlord has proposed that I simply sign over the check to him when I receive it which I feel may not be wise. The amount of money is the exact amount from a quote for reparation of the floor from a local installation company recommended to me by the landlord.


 


Should I await return of a certified letter from the landlord indicating his formal request of funds for floor reparation before I transfer the funds to him?


 

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
C,

It sounds as if you feel it is important to conduct business regarding this incident by certified letter to establish a paper trail for my protection, correct?

Exactly. This is if you propose and and the landlord agrees to split the money or something else. If the landlord demands the money, then you are in a bit of a pickle.

The landlord has proposed that I simply sign over the check to him when I receive it which I feel may not be wise.

I have to disagree. It is his money, arguably. If he was to go to Court over it, he would win. Again, remember the analogy: "In an analogy, imagine I borrowed your car, and someone hit me. They paid me $10 for repairs. I kept the $10 and gave you back the smashed vehicle." In this case, he gets the smashed vehicle back, and you get the $10.

In other words, the $3,000 is rightfully his.

Should I await return of a certified letter from the landlord indicating his formal request of funds for floor reparation before I transfer the funds to him?

Yes. However, if he is a hothead, he may try to file in small claims court without even sending you the letter first. You are obviously intelligent, so use your best judgment here when deciding if to wait or not, if you wish to go this route.

Gentle Reminder: Again, surely you prefer that I be honest in my answer – please remember that rating negatively due to receiving bad news still hurts the expert – it is simply the way that the system is set up. Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It seems as if you may be recommending that I proceed with signing over the check to the landlord, is this correct? I thought that the best procedure would be to deposit into my own bank account then write him a personal check. Does it make any difference?

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
C,

It seems as if you may be recommending that I proceed with signing over the check to the landlord, is this correct?

Correct. Now, I cannot tell you what to do. But if it were me, I would not keep the money as it is rightfully his.

I thought that the best procedure would be to deposit into my own bank account then write him a personal check. Does it make any difference?

No, as long as he gets the same amount - signing over or re-writing makes no difference.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 89126
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your gratuity.

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Ely
Ely
Counselor at Law
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Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.