Q: I'm moving out of the Yorkville apartment I rented in a condo. The management company says the Condo Board has mandated a Covid-19 cleaning fee of $ 1,250 in addition to the standard move-out fee. My lease included a driver stating that he was subject to the apartment's rules and statutes, but $ 1,250 seems like an absurd amount of money to clean a 650-square-foot apartment, and unnecessary if the finishes turn out to be wrong are high. Risk. Do I have to pay for that
A: Depending on the wording of that driver and the rules of the apartment, you may not be subject to the fee. However, you will need more information.
If the fee is likely a house rule, the driver you signed may not need to oblige you as the renter to comply. It's also possible that the apartment's bylaws may not allow the house rules to be enforced at all, which gives you another one, according to Andrew J. Wagner, a real estate attorney and partner in the Herrick law firm's office, Feinstein in Manhattan. Before you write a check, ask for a copy of the articles of association, the decision of the board of directors and the notice that your property manager received about them.
If you find that you are not required to pay, notify management. If you get a kick, hold on. Remember, landlords cannot use a security deposit to cover legal fees, late fees, additional rent, and other miscellaneous charges such as Covid cleaning fees. So after you move out, the management company would have to take you to a small claims court to get the money back.
If it turns out that you are obliged to pay, there is still room for negotiation. The goal is to renovate the apartment safely and properly, not to fleece you.
“How is the money being spent and by whom? Is it a specific cleaning company that specializes in Covid? “Mr. Wagner said. "Perhaps tenants can find someone to do a similar cleaning for less money."
If you haven't reached an agreement with management at the time of your vacation, write a letter explaining your reasons and hand it in with your keys. The company can try to deduct the amount from your security deposit anyway, and you would have to file a lawsuit in the Small Claims Court to get it back.
So speak to the building's management agent – you may have an ally as the company didn't create the rule, don't collect the money (the apartment panel is), and if you don't, won't be able to pay the bill. Perhaps there is some way to negotiate with the Condo Board on your behalf to find a more sensible solution.
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