What to do if an employee gave us approval to scrap some metal in the basement but now our landlord says that we stole it?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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What to do if an employee gave us approval to scrap some metal in the basement but now our landlord says that we stole it?

I asked a employee of my landlord if it was OK that my girlfriend and I scrap some old metal items that were in the basement of are building. We were given permission then a couple weeks later I received a letter from my landlord clamming that we had stolen the items we asked about and clams that he paid his security company at $35 an hour for 6 hours and a carpenter $40 for 3 hours for a door that we did not break. Now is requesting immediate reimbursement of $875.64, claiming that what we scraped was stolen from him. He is giving us 2 weeks to vacate are apartment even after I explained that we had asked permission and it was OK’d he tells us if we don’t comply he will pursue legal remedies. Is this even legal for him to do?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease with your landlord, you need to carefully read it in that its terms control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law. Since your landlord wants to terminate your lease, read carefully the provisions under your written lease allowing the landlord to terminate it and see if there is a basis for him or her to do so.

As to the issue of removing scrap metal from the unit you rent, the agent of the landlord (an employee) gave his or her approval to scrap the metal that led to the dispute. As such, the removal of the scrap metal resulted from your landlord's approval under the eyes of the law.

I suggest that you write the landlord about the situation keeping a copy of the letter for future need and deny any responsibility for the door claimed to have been broken asking for proof that you damaged it. At this juncture, you might consider contacting your local landlord tenant clinic about the situation for more assistance.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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