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Elizabeth Shollenberger Esq.
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Elizabeth Shollenberger’s Answers

399 total


  • Is there a statute of limitations in NYC to ask for rental security deposit back?

    I moved out of an apt August 2012 and did not get back my security deposit. I had problems with the landlord previously for paying late but all rent was paid at move-out. Then I had a car accident and was preoccupied with recovery and legal issues...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    The six-year contract statute of limitations applies. Small claims court is probably your best bet.

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  • In a commercial lease, can I ask that part of my security deposit be applied to rent?

    Because of my low-average credit score, I was asked to pay 5 months of security deposit on my current commercial lease instead of the standard 1 month advertised by the landlord before I submitted my application, which I agreed to and paid. Now I...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    You are free to ask, and your landlord is free to say no. Perhaps you could offer some other guarantee, like a co-signer to provide your landlord with the safety s/he needs.

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  • How long can I spend away from my apartment (continuing to pay rent)before I am considered to have vacated the premises?

    I'm in a New York City. Housing Authority apartment I'd like to spend as many months as I can away, in another State, to see if a relationship with a Woman who can't move away due to a divorce decree and her kids can work out. We want to try this...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with the two attorneys who have answered the question already. Also, here is a list of things you SHOULD NOT do:
    Don't register to vote anywhere else. Vote in NYC by absentee ballot.
    Don't change your driver's license to another state.
    Don't change your plates or insurance on your car to another state.
    Don't have checks printed with a new address, of if you really feel you must have local checks, do not pay your NYC rent with such a check.
    Don't change your address for tax purposes. Yes, I know that NYC has a ridiculously high income tax rate compared to almost everywhere else, but keep paying taxes here at NYC rates if you want the best chance possible of keeping your apartment.
    Don't change your address on anything official--passport, credit card bills, etc.
    Having said that, do not, of course, commit fraud with respect to any government program. If you receive SNAP/food stamps in NY, close out your SNAP/food stamp case until you return. Same for public assistance.
    THINGS TO DO:
    Do have a friend or neighbor check your mail and forward it, rather than having the post office do it.
    Do have that friend or neighbor check on your apartment every week or so, checking for notes stuffed under your door by management and for damage. (You don't want to come back in five months and see that a window was broken and a whole family of pigeons has taken up residence in your kitchen)
    If you have a landline phone, arrange for calls to be forwarded to you or check for messages daily. Again, you don't want to find out in December that management called you about access back in October.

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  • What can I do to stop my moms eviction

    My mom always paid her rent and was in good standing when she lost her job in 2014. Her landlord was very understanding and agreed to not take her to court while she searched for a new job. Fast forward a year later my mom's health started to decl...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Has your mother sought out a legal aid or legal services lawyer? She needs to do two things: (1) go to housing court to ask a judge to stay (postpone) her eviction and (2) start a proceeding called an "Article 78" in New York State Supreme Court, which is the method she would use to appeal the fair hearing loss. If she is unable to find a lawyer through legal services or legal aid, she could call Mary Ann Joyce, a former legal services lawyer who can evaluate your case and possibly file an Article 78 for you. She can be reached at mjoyce@mjoycelaw.com. Good luck.

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  • Already have my 30 day notice to landlord. They just gave me 3 day notice to pay or leave.

    My husband and I are going through financial issues. We have been struggling with paying rent. Landlord told us not to worry and they would work with us. We're still having issues and have decided to move in with family. We gave our 30 day notice ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    The landlord can do this, but it is unlikely that the landlord can actually evict you before the end of July. The three-day notice (also called a rent demand) is the document the landlord is required to give you BEFORE starting a court action. The non-payment action will be scheduled a week or two from now, at the earliest, and when you get there, you could either (1) enter into an agreement to pay within a couple of weeks, with language saying that the landlord cannot evict you without first notifying you and giving you a short additional period to pay or (2) seek an adjournment.

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  • My wife passed away without a will and without an estate, her bill collectors are demanding that I make payments on her behalf.

    I am on a pension and bill collectors are demanding that I make payments for her debts. am I obligated t repay on her behalf?

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    You are not required to pay your spouse's debts. However, whatever she had in her own name (perhaps a bank account?) is her estate, and you will be the beneficiary of her estate, but you must use her assets to pay her bills before taking the money as your own.

    If she had life insurance and you are the beneficiary, that is not part of the estate--it's yours. Also, if you and she owned your home as tenants by the entirety, the title to the house passes to you upon her death and is not subject to her creditors.

    If you are talking about a small amount of money--less than $2500 or so--it's probably not worth worrying about. The creditors are not going to chase you for such a small amount. Also, you are entitled to pay for her funeral out of the estate, and to pay for any legal fees associated with the estate, BEFORE paying other creditors. Example: Your wife had a bank account with $20,000 in it; you paid $10,000 for her funeral. That is money that comes out of her estate and is not available for paying her creditors. If you consult a trusts and estates attorney, to assure yourself that you are doing everything correctly and pay that attorney, that also comes out of estate funds. Depending on how large the debts are, you may want to meet with a local trusts and estates lawyer.

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  • I am living with my subleasee who is my recently broken off ex girlfriend. Is it possible to kick out a subleasee?

    My subleasee is getting physical. She now wakes me up in the morning and rubs her hand on my face to antagonize and harass me. What can I do to get her to stop or to talk to her in legal terms so she understands that there are boundaries? Can I ju...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    You need to start an eviction action in Housing Court and consider getting an order of protection against her in Family Court.

    You do not say whether you are straight or gay, but if you are a male, you are at a serious risk of being arrested--the police are much more likely to arrest you than they are to arrest her in a domestic dispute. This has arisen because for decades, nobody paid any attention to battered women, but now the pendulum has swung in the other direction, and it can be hard for a man to convince anyone that he is being harassed by a woman.

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  • Illegal eviction?

    The Marshall came and evicted me. At first he wasn't going to then he was, then not, and finally he did. Even though the petition address is wrong he said the judge denied my osc and motion to renew/argue for the defective premises. Can I go to th...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    Was your OSC denied after you were evicted? If so, you can certainly go to the Appellate Term now and ask that you be reinstated or, at best, that the landlord be stayed from re-renting your apartment to someone else.

    If you have not yet been to Housing Court after your eviction, go there first.

    Whether that procedural defense survives depends on whether you waived it in court. Did you sign a stipulation submitting to the jurisdiction of the court? If not, it sounds like you have a good issue.

    You really do need an attorney to help you.

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  • If I have to go to court and I am leaving to move into another state and they are asking for money how are they going to get it?

    I went to court yesterday and the landlord wanted to get backdated rent. The 1st time I went to court in May I asked if I can live month to month until I find a place they told me no. So I assumed that they just wanted me out of the place with my...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    The landlord will get a money judgment against you, and it will be good for twenty years, accruing interest at 9%. If you are out of state, he can still collect the judgment (although there are various procedural hoops he will have to jump through), assuming he can find you. If he cannot locate you, he'll have a hard time collecting.

    Of course, the judgment will eventually appear on your credit report, lowering your credit score. That would be a reason to pay him now.

    If you choose not to pay him now, don't tell him where you are going. Also, one way creditors with a judgment can collect it: search for where you bank and attempt to seize your bank account. For purposes of avoiding this, you would be well advised to bank with a local bank in your new state, not one with branches in New York. This doesn't mean that you are safe from execution, but it makes it harder for him to find your assets.

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  • In NYC Housing Court can you file more than one amended answer?

    I had to go to NYC Housing Court on a non-pay proceeding. I originally filed a brief 'check off' answer at the Clerks office and then later filed a more fleshed out amended answer. I struggled with the amended answer and didn't do a very good job ...

    Elizabeth’s Answer

    My colleagues are correct that you need the Court's permission, but you should realize that the Court is supposed to grant permission unless there is prejudice to the opposing party (for example, adding new theories to the case on the eve of trial). If you are still pro se, you should file an order to show case asking for leave to file the second amended answer, and attach a copy of it to your order to show cause. If you have a lawyer, the lawyer may do it by motion or may seek the opposing counsel's consent.

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