Rentals in New York>Question Details

Jason, Renter in New York

Prepaid now landlord is asking for rent

Asked by Jason, New York Thu Dec 1, 2011

The situation:
I moved into a great apt on Nov 1st and signed a 6 month sublet agreement. I've dealt with contracts of all types for work and this one was pretty much just a liability waiver. I paid 2 months rent security deposit at move in and it was never disclosed in writing nor verbally that it was for the first 2 months or first and last. I assumed(I know i should never assume) it was for the first 2 months and that I would begin paying rent in January.
Yesterday the sublandlord texted me giving me a gentle reminder about rent being due. Both of us didn't have time to
discuss this at the time so we agreed to discuss it today at noon but he hasn't called me or answered any texts.

Question:
Since nothing was signed that designated the payment at the time of move in and I have already given him 2 months of rent(1 now) can he re-designate the money after the fact at his convenience since it was never clarified at the time of the signing? i just want to get some opinions

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Answers

22
I'm glad you could work everything out with the landlord!

Best regards,


Laura Thierer
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Homestate Properties
o: 212-693-9000
m: 914-426-0075
lthierer@homestateproperties.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Having a dog deposit is very normal. From what I keep on reading here. I am not so sure the owner did not get the shaft. I hope I am missreading, but so it seems.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
I'm glad everything has worked out for you & they're willing to work it all out for you.

Brian Moore
bmoore@manapts.com
917-215-5300
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Serial Subletter? I hate moving, I had just started settling in the previous apt and wasn't looking to move. In the end the situation worked out and I got the apt rented and was ready to go. My current employer made a better offer and extended my contract, and I wasn't looking to be homeless with a dog.

I finally got ahold of my landlord and we cleared everything up. He just said that since nothing was in writing he would let me choose what the next course of action would be. We came to a agreement that I would pay rent this month and he would return my dog deposit. We're meeting tomorrow to add a rider into the contract stating first+last+deposit= $8400 and that first rent payment was due in December and has been paid. Also clarifying that which month was the final month.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Jason,
You said in a previous post that on October 29th "I signed a lease reassignment starting October and have to leave NY for a job for a few months so I figured I'd sublet my apt for the time I was gone. I found a great " But now a month later you are saying that you just sublet a place for 6 months from someone else? What's up with this..
Are you a serial sub-letter? LOL!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Jason,
You said in a previous post that on October 29th "I signed a lease reassignment starting October and have to leave NY for a job for a few months so I figured I'd sublet my apt for the time I was gone. I found a great " But now a month later you are saying that you just sublet a place for 6 months from someone else? What's up with this..
Are you a serial sub-letter? LOL!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 4, 2011
Hi Jason,

Based on your comments, I believe that the landlord might had taken $2800 as a first month rent, $2800 as a security deposit and, my guess, $2800 as last month rent. Do you have any receipts of the payments?

I agree with some of my colleagues. This is something you can resolve in a gentle phone call. I see it as a misunderstanding.

Good luck!

Laura Thierer
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Homestate Properties
o: 212-693-9000
m: 914-426-0075
lthierer@homestateproperties.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 2, 2011
I month security is typical. A second month of security is often required if tenant has a dog or their credit is not excellent. However It should be spelled out. In a typical lease it says what the monthly rent, the term of lease and the amount of security. IMO, you are better off having it It go toward rent than extra security. A short term sub-let is a little different.

Bottom line your landlord got half the term of the lease paid upfront. It is only a 6 month lease. A little excessive in my opinion with out a valid reason.

Is this the same landlord/broker that advertised no fee rental and pulled a bait and switch?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 2, 2011
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
MVP'08
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Jason,
Unfortunately, we can assume all we want and explain the details of how it "normally" is for typical rent collections and deposits, but at the end, what's agreed upon on paper is the what goes. I've seen all types of different agreements between landlord, tenants, sublets, etc. This is the problem you can run into by not having it in writing. Having dealt with conracts of all types as you have, you know how important it is to get it done.
This is completely left to the interpretation of both you and the landlord you're dealing with. You might just have to try to come to an agreement, even if that ends up making you bite the bullet and that 2nd payment part of last month's rent, which is the typical thing you see.
If this is something you completely refuse to do, an attorney will be the person that can truly give you advice beyond what we are capable of providing you.

Best of luck, and remember: Always in writing, get receipts (preferrably pay with checks or something you can put a note on).
Web Reference: http://buyinorlando.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Hi Jason. You clarification need clarification. Did you pay in cash or Bank check? If cash did you get a receipt and does it refer to a rent payment? If check did YOU put a note on it for 1st and 2nd month's rent? You should consult a real estate Atty. They usually will give a first consultation gratis.

If there is no specifics on the lease or in writing anywhere, seems to me it is on the landlord as his mistake. Since he won't return your calls or texts, let him make the next move but document your texts on hard copy. I would agree with Charlotte regarding the January payment. Bottom line, if you play hardball there is very little he can do. If he plays hardball and mentions eviction, that will take many months, you'll probably be out by then anyway and it seems the law would be on your side anyway sine you've pais your rent and there is nothing in writing to the contrary. Again, Consult an Attorney. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Your clarification helped. :) I recommend the you speak with him just as you are attempting to do.
That may be the best way to handle this, if it was stated and put into the lease that you paid 2 months, I think a gentle conversation should clear it up. (As long as there was not a third party in the communication, you should be fine)
You should not have to pay for December, and resume payment in January.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Jason

I dont know your case but generally when I am the exclusive broker for a listing I advise my Landlord to take 2 months deposit and 1st months rent upfront OR atleast 1 months deposit and 1st and last months rent. Looks like this maybe your scenario. I'm sure no sublettor will take 1st and 2nd months rent and not a deposit. So its likely you mis-understood the prepayment details. So if you say you paid 2 months security deposit then your rent is due Dec 1. Most sublettors will take a security deposit or 2 to ensure no damage done to their property when they get it back.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Hi Jason.

If I took 2 months rent from someone upfront then it would be for first and last month or I would take extra security. Sounds like that is the scenario and there was an innocent confusion. If a broker was involved he should have clarified that.
I would recommend paying the rent if you can afford to and just get from him in writing that the last month is paid for and you have a one month security so you don't get to the last month and suddenly there are other issues. Pay ASAP so he doesn't try to collect late fees/penalties.
Best of luck.
Eran
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
I have run across a similar situation, though the pre paid items were applied to the end of the term. It appears to be a simple misunderstanding. All you can really do is contact them to see if you can agree on something regarding what that money was actually applied to.

By wording, it only reflects a total of $5600 with in the contract. Did you get any receipts?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
I paid $8400 total move in, heres a breakdown i just re-read my post and it wasn't very clear.

Breakdown of move in

Total - $8400

Rent - $2800/month x 2 mo = $5600
Security - $2800

it was just never clarified if the $5600 was to be first and last or first 2 months. The lease doesn't clarify this either it just basically releases the Landlord and Sub-Landlord of any liabilities and doesn't go into payment info other than stating security-$2800 and rent-$2800. I don't have a issue with paying it, it just felt like the landlord was may have been unclear on how the money was to be designated because I thought I had made myself clear that I was paying 2 months in advance.

I'm still trying to get ahold of him any info till then would be awesome

thanks in advance
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Hello Jason,
From just reading your scenario & question, it appears you placed a 2 month SECURITY. Security deposits are usually held until you move out in case of damages to the unit. So more likely, 1 was used as one month rent (assuming you did not pay November rent after moving in) & one month security (came out great, if so). This should have been clarified with in the contract to avoid situations like this. The security will be refunded at end of term if no damages or additional costs to actual responsible party (the one whom sublet it to you) because technically they are ultimately responsible for the unit.

He/she may chose to allocate the monies received in a different manner, if they agree. We as agents/brokers/management companies are obligated to put Security Deposits in an escrow account, which may not apply to your situation, that prevent the reallocation of the funds (can be done in some situations).
In my opinion, it is best to express your concerns/questions to them & see what can be worked out. It will cost you more to move & a deal like that WILL BE DIFFICULT to get now.

Good Luck & it is always best to get all terms in writing & a confirmation of what any/all monies prepaid were applied to.

Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any other regards.
Brian Moore
bmoore@manapts.com
NYC Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
917.215.5300
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Review your lease agreement as well; security deposits are separate from monthly rent....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Jason,
By your text above, you state that you paid 2 months rent security deposit. If that is correct, then it is exactly that, a SECURITY DEPOSIT and not rent paid and you would owe the rent. a security deposit is to be returned at the expiration of the lease, if all rent is paid in full and there is no damage to the premises. If rent is owed at the end of the term or there is damage, then the cost of repairs or money owed for unpaid rent would be deducted from the security deposit. Usually this money cannot be used for the last month of rent as then the landlord would not have any security to cover any damages that might be above any normal wear & tear.
I hope that this explanation will help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
What you gave was one-month rent and one month security. You will have to pay rent each month for the duration of the 6 months, and that last month will be refunded to you ONLY when they inspect and there are no damages to the apartment. You did sign a 6 month sublet agreement it should be on the sublet agreement. AS one month rent and one month security. Sometimes on a furnished unit you pay 2 months of security. In NY we do not have paying first and last month. We only have paying rent and paying security and the amount you get charged is different for each situation. From what you are telling me her you are NOT PREPAID.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
yes, it is 1st+security for sure!
Owner needs a security deposit that may not be last month rent
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
Jason,

It is standard to pay 1st month and give another month's worth of rent as a deposit. So, if your lease started on November 1st then you now need to pay December's rent.

Hopefully all works out for you.

Best, Nick Rafello, V.P.
Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
212-444-7852
nrafello@corcoran.com
http://www.corcoran.com/nrafello
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
FIRST and LAST is pretty standard.
He may be assuming that you are going to move out.
You'd better come with 1 month's ASAP.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 1, 2011
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