Q: I didn’t know that the rent-stabilized constructing the place I stay had been bought till I acquired a textual content message from an unknown quantity telling me to pay my lease through Venmo or Zelle. Moments later, a stranger knocked at my door and launched himself as a consultant of the brand new proprietor. He refused to reveal the proprietor’s id and instructed me I might mail my test to a submit workplace field if I didn’t wish to pay lease digitally. I used to be left feeling surprised, weak and betrayed by the earlier landlord. Was there no obligation to tell tenants that the constructing had been bought, and to confirm the brand new landlord’s id on our behalf? Shouldn’t now we have acquired discover?
A: Don’t ship your lease test to a random submit workplace field or an nameless Venmo account or to anybody who can’t show that they symbolize your new landlord.
“I’d by no means ship anybody cash that I don’t know, if I don’t have proof that they’re really entitled to the cash,” stated Bradley S. Silverbush, a Manhattan lawyer who represents landlords. If the request is fraudulent, “you’re by no means going to get that again, OK?”
As a matter of courtesy, your landlord ought to have instructed you that the constructing bought, and supplied you with details about the brand new administration. The brand new proprietor, nonetheless, should register the constructing with each the town and the state, disclosing the names and enterprise addresses of the particular person licensed to handle it, in addition to the proprietor or whoever is permitted to behave on the proprietor’s behalf. You need to be capable to discover this data on the town’s Division of Housing Preservation and Growth web site, in addition to on state data, because it’s a rent-stabilized constructing. Monetary knowledge concerning the sale must be out there on the Automated Metropolis Register Info System.
But it surely’s not your job or accountability to seek out this data. You’re entitled to know that you’re paying lease to the right entity, and whom you need to contact with any issues together with your residence. Insist that the one that contacted you show that they symbolize the proprietor. Withhold lease till you’re proven adequate documentation to show that you’re certainly paying your landlord.
Speak to your neighbors, too. Kind a tenants’ affiliation, if one doesn’t exist already. “For those who’re confronted with this, your neighbors are additionally confronted with it,” stated Andrew Scherer, a professor at New York Regulation College and the co-director of the Housing Justice Management Institute. “Act collectively on one thing like this. There may be clearly security in numbers.”
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