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Q&A: Unexplained Repair Fees

Q. My sister lived in Co-Op City in the Bronx. She passed away in July 2017, and I became voluntary executor of her estate. She kept this apartment spotless, and did not make any changes, except adding a light shine-coat to the living room floor. When the inspector went to check apartment and we did the walk-through, he pointed out a few minor things, and said things were pretty good.

After months of waiting and following up and asking about the refund of the deposit due to her, I finally received the check…and they took 50%, claiming repairs and other unexplained fees, such as $4,000 for a new floor. (They said the coating she used could not be taken off, so the complete floor was damaged. That is false, and I can prove it.)

Is there a department that regulates what repair fees can be charged, and how much? If these repairs are legitimate, there should be a table with each cost, so everyone moving in knows what it will cost to move out — simple information. At this point, it seems someone simply decided to make some money off the people moving out; that is not right, and seems like simple abuse.

A. Says attorney John Desiderio of Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., a law firm in New York City: “The writer could submit a complaint to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), but HPD would not normally take any action with respect to repair expenses of this kind. This would be viewed as a matter dependent upon the terms of the lease between the landlord and the tenant. The writer’s best course of action would be to file a complaint in Small Claims Court.”

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