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Landlord Previous Tenant Issues

Good afternoon fellow JDU users, (NEW YORK) So I have lawyerly2305/22/17
Does the Deadbeat tenant have any assets? If not, just gett cheapbrass05/23/17
It's not going to do you much good to file a case- because e bakertaylor05/30/17
don't do it. If the landlord can't give you a retainer an dingbat05/22/17
I agree, these people however are despirate and cannot sell lawyerly2305/22/17
That's life. There is a risk and reward associated with ever mrtor05/22/17
That sucks. But what about your bills? They won't pay themse isthisit05/22/17
In the legal realm you come across a lot of miserable situat qport05/22/17
If you are asking if you should take this civil case on "con isthisit05/22/17
I can't imagine ever taking an LL/T case on contingency. I'm flharfh05/31/17
lawyerly23 (May 22, 2017 - 1:11 pm)

Good afternoon fellow JDU users,

(NEW YORK)

So I have a friend that approached me with a question that I am not entirely sure of what the proper remedy would be if I take on this matter...

Landlord rented out a condo which then landord took tenant to court for failure to pay the rent. Judge ordered that tenants are to vacate the premises on a certain date, (tenants lived rent free for 3 additional months), and tenants vacated the date AFTER given by the court.

Upon landlords entry of the premises, condo was damaged OVER $25K (as per estimate received from a contractor to fix the place), including $300 to clean the condo, not to mention cost for supplies to clean.
***Contract explicitly stated that tenant is to vacate the premises in the same condition that landord handed the premises over. (Landlord rented the premises in clean, prestine, non-damaged conditon).

Potential client was planning to handle this matter in NY small claims court, however, given the monetary value excessively exceeding $5K, I am not sure what the appropriate and quick remedy would be. (Also, not sure if I want to take this on for the possibility of prevous tenant not paying for damages if ordered to do so. I might add that as a result of tenants failure to pay from Dec-February and living rent free from March-May, landlord has no money to pay due to having to pay for 2 mortgages, 1 being the condo and 2 the home in which they live in now). Therefore, if I was to be paid, it would only be WHEN and IF previous renter would pay.

(I am not familiar with dealing with these kind of matters so anyones assistance in New York, would be greatly apprecaited).

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cheapbrass (May 23, 2017 - 11:08 am)

Does the Deadbeat tenant have any assets? If not, just getting a judgment will do you no good. If the ex-tenants have assets or have professional jobs (where you can garnish their wages), they it might be worthwhile in the interest of helping the landlord. However, I probably still wouldn't take the case w/o a retainer of some sort.

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bakertaylor (May 30, 2017 - 2:59 pm)

It's not going to do you much good to file a case- because even if you get a judgment it won't be worth the paper its written on- The defendants will likely file bankruptcy unless they have substantial assets, which I doubt given the rent issue in the first place. Also 25K isn't small claims jurisdiction- which is capped at 5K in the most liberal states. Also, in the case of a mortgage, most of the lender contracts require the landlord to maintain insurance on the property that covers third-party tenant damages- hence if the record were to reflect that the landlord was in violation of the mortgage agreement, the property will likely end up under foreclosure anyways.

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dingbat (May 22, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

don't do it.

If the landlord can't give you a retainer and pay by the hour, you won't get paid. Tenant is probably a deadbeat, and the landlord will never collect.

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lawyerly23 (May 22, 2017 - 2:40 pm)

I agree, these people however are despirate and cannot sell the property in this condition. Moreover, rent it to anyone in the condition its in.

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mrtor (May 22, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

That's life. There is a risk and reward associated with everything. Here, they purchased a condo and took on the risk of potentially problematic tenants in exchange for the reward of rent. They collected that reward (rent) for a period time without any problems (risk). It sounds like they either over leveraged themselves, and barely made it month-to-month, or burned the rent instead saving it to deal with this type of situation. They made a poor decision one way or the other.

This is a charity case. It is almost statistically certain that you will not collect or get paid. They have two options: 1) Eat the cost of repairs and then rent or sell it; or 2) Absent capital for those repairs, sell it in the present condition and take the loss. There is no magic answer here. They're going to lose a lot of money and perhaps they will learn a valuable less about proper capitalization and careful tenant selection controls.

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isthisit (May 22, 2017 - 4:48 pm)

That sucks. But what about your bills? They won't pay themselves.
Unless you're already making beacoup bucks and can afford to carry this IOU case, I'd tell your friend that you can't take their case.

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qport (May 22, 2017 - 5:44 pm)

In the legal realm you come across a lot of miserable situations. But just because someone has a sob story, legitimate or not, doesn't mean you have to take their case. I don't know about you, but I have a finite amount of cases I can competently handle. Since every pro bono (or low bono) case I take has to be handled with the same care and diligence as if they paid me the full amount, if I loaded my docket up with deadbeat clients and charity cases I couldn't make enough to keep the lights on.

Running a law practice is like sitting on an airplane when the oxygen masks deploy. First, help yourself. Then, help your neighbor.

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isthisit (May 22, 2017 - 4:09 pm)

If you are asking if you should take this civil case on "contingency". Don't do it. Landlord sounds like he can't/won't pay you anyway and the tenant may be a deadbeat. Even if you get a judgment against him how long will it take Landlord to collect from tenant, and then for you to collect from Landlord.

Works on contingency? No, money down!

Please see this video for more: https://youtu.be/3XGAmPRxV48

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flharfh (May 31, 2017 - 6:45 pm)

I can't imagine ever taking an LL/T case on contingency. I'm sure that there would be an exception, but generally stay far away from that sort of arrangement.

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