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Maverick
Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5766
Experience:  20 years professional experience
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This question concerns an apartment/parking garage

Customer Question

This question concerns an apartment/parking garage situation.
I lease an apartment in a building which has an underground parking garage that is owned and operated by a third-party company. I have a monthly agreement with the garage directly, but because of problems with the management of the garage the building started allowing tenants to pay the parking fee to the apt management company along with the apartment rent. This was how I paid.
In May I lost my job and asked the management of the garage and building if I could take a few months hiatus from parking in the garage. Both the parking garage in the apartment manager agreed, with notice, and they stopped billing me.
I intended to move the car to my girlfriend's farm, but she went to the hospital and ended up passing away on June 5th. I was trying to figure out what to do, and really did not have a good option. Meanwhile, the garage attendant gave me a tag for June. They did not turn off my electronic access card.
I remained parking in the garage. July and August they also gave me tags. Suddenly last week, Thursday evening, I could not exit the garage because the card was voided. An attendant let me out the gate and told me to just take a ticket to get in.
The next day I went down to address it, and my car had been booted. A hand written note was on my windshield saying they booted me for not paying. It was from the garage manager but had no contact information.
They called him, and they said they will not take the boot off until I pay all of the back rent to the building. Although he was on the phone with the building manager, he had left the building until Monday.
He checked the system and verified that I have been parking and going in and out. I offered to pay for August on the spot and figure it out with the management company and he would not accept that and take the boot off.
I need to know, am I responsible for the back months? Since I don't really have it I want to make sure I'm liable for the full amount.
Also, is it acceptable for them to boot it without ever having contacted me?
Thanks
I have two questions: 1) am I responsible for the m
Since I don't really
The attendant
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

Welcome! My name is Maverick. Please give me a few minutes to analyze and/or research your inquiry and I will be back.

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

1. On the issue of whether they are allowed to boot your car without notifying you, the answer for that would lie in the contract that you signed with the garage or in a parking addendum to your lease. Most of the time those clauses state that if you are behind on parking fees or rent, then they can boot the car without first giving you notice.

2. Also there is should be a clause in the lease that states that if they do not enforce their rights to collect rent for one particular month, it does not mean they waive their right to collect it for another month. It appears to me that they were giving you some leeway in light of what happened to your girlfriend; but were never really agreeing to waive the rent that was due and hoping that you would pay this on your own when things got back on track. From a legal stand point, they can enforce this on the contract or they can state that you owe all three months under a theory of unjustly being enriched which is a fancy way of saying that you received a benefit which you did not pay for.

One could argue that the landlord waived its right to collect the rent for those three months; but to prove that you would need to show an intentional and unequivocal communication on their part that they did not expect you to pay for parking for June-August. I am not sure that giving you a tag and continued access for a few months under these circumstance show a waiver of ever receiving payment again or whether it just shows them just trying to work with you during some tough times. This is an issue of fact that a jury would decide if this went to court.

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