Do you have to pay the Covid-19 cleaning costs of your building?
Q: I am moving out of the Yorkville apartment I was renting in a condo. The management company says the condominium board has imposed a Covid-19 cleaning fee of $ 1,250, in addition to the standard moving fee. My lease included an endorsement stating that it was subject to the terms and regulations of the condominium, but $ 1,250 seems like an absurd amount to clean a 650 square foot apartment, and unnecessary when it has been shown that the surfaces do not. are not high. risk. Do I have to pay this?
A: Depending on the wording of this endorsement and the rules of the co-ownership, you may not be subject to the fees. But you need more information.
If the charge is a house rule, which is likely, the endorsement you signed may not require you, the tenant, to comply with it. According to Andrew J. Wagner, a real estate litigator and partner in the Manhattan office of the law firm Herrick, Feinstein, it’s also possible that condominium bylaws may not enforce house rules at all, giving you another. So before you write a check, ask to see a copy of the bylaws, the board resolution and the notice your property manager has received on it.
If you find that you are not obligated to pay, let management know. If you’re pushed back, hold on. Keep in mind that landlords cannot use a security deposit to cover attorney fees, late fees, additional rent, and other miscellaneous costs, like Covid cleaning fees. The management company should therefore take you to small claims court after you move to collect the money.
If it turns out that you are forced to pay, there is still room for negotiation. The goal is to sanitize the apartment safely and correctly, not to mow yourself.
“How is the money spent and by whom? Is it a special cleaning company that specializes in Covid? said Mr Wagner. “Maybe tenants can find someone to do a comparable cleaning for less money.”
If you did not have an agreement with management when you left, write a letter explaining your reasoning and return it with your keys. The company can try to deduct the amount from your security deposit anyway, and you’ll need to file a claim in small claims court to get it back.
So talk to the building management officer – you might have an ally, since the company didn’t create the rule, doesn’t collect the money (the board does) and will be forced to pay the bill if you don’t. There may be a way for them to negotiate with the condo board on your behalf to find a more reasonable solution.
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