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Do we have valid lawsuit against the Landlord and contractors for grand larceny and gross negligence? What are steps to file?

Long Island City, NY |

I moved into a Queens apt that was not completely ready (the balcony still need addtl work). LL let the contractors and unsure whoelse into our apt without a 24 hour notice, which is required by the lease unless there is an emergency. The day when work was done on my balcony, I had to go home during lunch to quickly pick up a phone charger. Upon entering my apt, the door to my apt was opened and found unfamiliar people in my apt. I saw contractors working on balcony. I didn't see super anywhere in my apt. Later that evening, when we returned to our apt my husband and I noticed that the IPad and his Rolex are gone. We filed police report that evening. LL would not take responsibility for the stolen prop even though it was caused due to their negligence. Seems LL breached lease

Lease language PROPERTY LOSS, DAMAGES OR INCONVENIENCE Unless caused by the negligence or misconduct of Owner or Owner's agents or employees, Owner or Owner's agents and employees are not responsible to You for any of the following: (1) any loss of or damage to You or Your property in the Apartment or the Building due to any accidental or intentional cause, even a theft or another crime committed in the Apartment or elsewhere in the Building; (2) any loss of or damage to Your property delivered to any employee of the Building (i.e., doorman, superintendent, etc.); or (3) any damage or inconvenience caused to You by actions, negligence or violations of a Lease by any other tenant or person in the Building except to the extent required by law.

Attorney Answers 3


Dear LIC Tenant:

The police report will help you press a claim on the landlord's insurance and your own homeowner insurance. If your insurance pays for the loss, then likely a claim will be pressed against the landlord and the contractors.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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Are the police investigating. You can sue but it's a hard case, especially against the landlord. Even if the super had been there he could not watch everyone.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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The answer is did you authorize the LL to open the apartment for your contractors? If not, he might still not be found negligent if they had a work order, and other documentation. It's a close one, but without any authorization by you to the LL, he should be found liable. Also, the contractors should be responsible since, by allowing the door to remain open, and a burglar entering, or one of them having taken the property, they would be liable.


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