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Is it legal for property manager to withhold Keys. leases and…

Customer Question
Is it legal for property...
Is it legal for property manager to withhold Keys. leases and other rental property documents in excahnge for a disouted dept?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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6/26/2010
Real Estate Lawyer: Dimitry Esquire, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Dimitry Esquire
Dimitry Esquire, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
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Thank you for your question.

I am sorry, what exactly is a "dosouted dept"?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Kak ti Dimitri

 

The property manager did compliance work prior to getting my approval and paid himself for it and then cam back and demanded I send him money imediately of else I would get fined $500 per day.

 

I sent him the $500 then he sends me another bill for $1200.

 

I am disputing the rate he is charging for labor (handyman) $42/hour I offered him $20 per hour. He siad he has started suing me? Even though, according to him I only own him $1000.

 

Because of all this I fired him and demanded that he turn over all keys, my lease, all money and and pertinent docs to my new PM.

 

He siad he would not do it until paid in full and if I did not pay with ten 10ays he would file suit and put a lien on my property.

 

He is a total asshole

 

 

 

Real Estate Lawyer: Dimitry Esquire, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Ahh, ponyal.

Legally he is correct, regardless of his behavior. If there is an outstanding debt, as he sees it, he can withhold the keys, lease, money, and docs, until you pay him as owed. Since you already signed the agreement with him, you can hold him to terms, but be aware that if he charged $42 an hour, unless you have terms to the contrary, or you can prove by other charges in the industry that the fees are too high, you are required to pay it. Since this is an outstanding debt with the business, he can put a lien on it. The way to fight it is via court, but because you fired him, he can prove that he did do work for you, and if he can create the right invoices, the judge will allow it.

I am not quite sure I understand the $500.00 per day fine--was that by him or by the zoning board?

I am sorry.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 6/26/2010 at 6:02 AM EST
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

So just because I had a management agreement with him he can charge those rate without first getting my ok?

Real Estate Lawyer: Dimitry Esquire, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Thank you for your follow-up.

The rates have to be "reasonable" and within the industry standard. If you never discussed the rates, but they are within that "reasonable" standard, you take that risk when you sign the contract. That is why it is always better to clearly spell out all terms to the agreement, including all fees and rates. Otherwise you can be placed in this position, which is really a no-win solution for you legally. The best I can suggest is to find out if the $42 per hour rate was too high for the type of work that was being done---if it is, you have a legitimate claim to fight against it. Otherwise you will have to pay the fees and re-write your future agreements with your current property manager.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 6/26/2010 at 6:15 AM EST
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

The contract said he would not spend more than $350 without my approval.

 

He used the corrctionorder to shake me down.

 

IT sound like this guy knows exactly what he is doing

 

Can he demand any more then what he said I owed for the work?

Real Estate Lawyer: Dimitry Esquire, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Here's the issue--since you formally permitted him to do the compliance work, that $350.00 limit no longer applies. So yes, he can lawfully demand more money if the work he did is beyond that threshold.

You are right, it does sound like he knew what he was doing, and I am sorry that you are in this situation. I suggest you shop around and get average estimates of what his job would cost if done by others, so in case he demands more, you can then tell him to see you in court and use those quotes to claim bad faith and breach of contract.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 6/26/2010 at 6:22 AM EST
Dimitry Esquire
Dimitry Esquire, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Spaciba,, Thank You!!

 

Can he get more from me then his invoice for the work,, ie for legal fees etc etc if I agree to pay?

 

Thanks Again

 

Dean

Real Estate Lawyer: Dimitry Esquire, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Nezhashto. I wish I could help more!

If you agree to pay, his liability ends. That means you have to send him a letter requesting a final invoice of all charges and fees, and then pay it. The "final" invoice is just that--he won't be able to tack on additional charges later. Second, if you pay prior to the lien or the suit, he has nothing to sue for--damages were covered. Therefore he will not be able to sue you for legal fees.

Good luck.

Edited by Dimitry Alexander Kaplun on 6/26/2010 at 6:33 AM EST
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