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My husband and I had rented an apartment in Queens, NY

Good evening. My husband...

Good evening. My husband and I had rented an apartment in Queens, NY directly from the property owner in October 2014. In early October 2017, we notified him that November 2017 would be our last month there since we purchased a home. Long story short, after many attempts of trying to have him send us our security deposit, he's only notified us that we left the apartment with "severe damages" and aside from keeping our deposit, we owe him money for the repairs. The "severe damages" he's claiming are nail holes which we covered up, and some of the stain from the wooden floors peeling off. We plan on taking him to small claims court, but would like advice on how to go about it or what we'd need to take to almost guarantee we can get our money back. He had cancelled twice to do a final walk-through, during our stay there failed to get certain things done to the apartment, and took over 100 days since we moved out to tell us we owe him money (no bills/invoice sent ever). THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

We had a letter of demand sent via certified mail, I've printed email exchanges showing that hes extremely delayed in responding to our needs/requests and didn't fix certain things, and I've printed before and after pictures of the apartment.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a NY lawyer about this?

No since apparently no lawyer needed in small claims court

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Just want to know if the "severe damages" he's claiming after 4 months since we've moved out are considered normal wear and tear, if we can "sue" for more, and if there's anything else we should prepare for in case we go to court and he counter Sue's.

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Answered in 8 minutes by:
4/3/2018
Olivia Kent
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,723
Experience: Executive Director at Neurogenx Nerve Center of Princeton
Verified

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** I'm an attorney. Please note this site is for general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Communicating with an expert on this site does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You might be offered a phone call, but you are under no obligation to accept; the phone call requests don’t come from me - they’re offered by the site - but if you do want a phone call I’d be happy to do that as well.

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Did you have a lease? Did you have to give notice and if so how much notice?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We did have a lease. It was for one year. Being that we were renting directly from the property owner (it was a 2-family home, we lived in the first floor and another tenant on the 2nd floor), we never got lease renewals after that. He did ask to let him know at least a month in advance before we were to move out. We gave him almost 2 months notice.

So after the one year lease you removed month to month - and he's not claiming you gave inadequate notice. Nails in the walls (I'm assuming they're not boulder-sized) are deemed normal wear and tear and therefore when you file your small claims court motion you'd want to include all the photos you have as evidence to support your claim. You'd also provide your correspondence with him to show that you diligently tried to get him to show up to do a walk through. As it stands he's already in violation of the law for not returning your deposit and/or notifying you why he wouldn't return it PROMPTLY.

Please let me know if I've answered your question. If I have answered your question, if you wouldn't mind, could you please take a moment to submit a rating so that I receive credit for working with you. If you have any follow up questions I would be *happy* to answer them. Experts only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciated but not required! It DOES NOT cost you anything at all to submit a rating; it just allows me to get credit for helping you - otherwise I get no credit at all. You CAN still ask follow up questions after rating. There may be a lag between your question and my answer; this is because I'm either not at my computer or helping someone else but I assure you I will ALWAYS come back and answer your question.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
just so I understand correctly, the filled in nail holes on the walls and the random parts of the wood flooring in which the finish flaked off should be considered normal wear and tear? He's saying to repaint the walls and refinish the floors, it's costing him $3900. Because of this, he says he's keeping our $1800 deposit and on top of that, we still owe him $2100. This was all told to us literally 3 days ago and we move out last November. No bills were ever sent. Are you also saying that he's already in violation if the law because it's taken him so long to notify us?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
just to verify, back in 2014 we initially had a signed lease of one year, after that we just kept paying our monthly rent until November 2017 and notified him in the beginning of October 2017 that we were leaving.

the filled in nail holes on the walls <-- yes

the random parts of the wood flooring in which the finish flaked off should be considered normal wear and tear <--- yes

It's WAY too late for him to try to charge you now. He simply cannot.

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Sounds like he's just trying to get you to pay for the repairs he wants to do to make his place spiffy. Unfortunately 4 months after the fact he's not permitted to hold you responsible.

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"Under New York law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within a reasonable time after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord--that is, returned the keys and vacated the property. What's 'reasonable' would ultimately be up to a small claims court judge (should a deposit dispute end up in court), but it typically means a window of 21 to 45 days." https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/new-york-security-deposits-36183.html

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
You have no idea how happy and relieved I am to hear that. He's been a horrible, inconsiderate landlord while we were there and although it's been a stressful and frustrating time dealing with him, aside from the fact that we'll have to go to court because of this, I'm more reassured that we'll get our deposit back.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I know laws vary by state, but is there anything else we can sue him for?

Very happy to help :) If you wouldn't mind, could you please take a moment to submit a rating so that I receive credit for working with you. Experts only get credit for the time and effort we spend on our answers if you rate positively - 5 stars is definitely appreciate. You can certainly try to sue for harassment if you choose.

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Reminder: This site is for general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
All this time with no deposit, and eventually when we do go to court, we will have to miss a day of work. I don't know. Figured I'd asked since you've been more than helpful.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Olivia, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! I will most definitely rate you a 5, only because that's the max rating :).
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
My husband will be happy to know your response to our question. Now we just have to file a claim and wait for the court date I guess.

My pleasure :)

Olivia Kent
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,723
Experience: Executive Director at Neurogenx Nerve Center of Princeton
Verified
Olivia Kent and 87 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Have a good night and thanks again for your help.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
sorry, my husband just asked what do we do next? Is going to small claims court the only way our if this?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
out of this

Yes, if you want your money back.

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Court is really the only way to force the return of funds owed to you.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok thank you. Just wanted to make sure.

You're welcome :)

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