Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in New York

Landlord refuses rent payment

My mother has been living in her apartment for over thirty years. About a year ago she suffered a stroke which has confined her to a wheelchair. She is currently in a Nursing/Rehab facility due to her condition. Her granddaughter also lives with her. Until her condition improves and/or she gets medical clearance, she will remain there. A letter was provided to the landlord stating that at some point she will eventually return to the community. The landlord has already renewed her lease for two more years. I received a letter in the mail from his office stating that he will not be able to accept her rent (although he cashed July and August rent under the new lease) because he wants her to come into his office and he doesn't believe that she still lives there. He is well aware of her whereabouts, yet he is requesting to see her. Could this letter have been sent in error or does this make sense? Can he refuse her rent?

Asked on 9/08/05, 10:02 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Andrew Nitzberg Andrew Nitzberg & Associates
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Re: Landlord refuses rent payment

This is the 'Landlord/Tenant' game. And it is no fun at all.

1. Your mother has no duty to appear at anyone's office. Just respond by letter indicating her medical condition.

2. As a linear blood-relation, your daughter has a right to reside in the apartment.

If your mother passes, there will be some qiuestion as to whether your daughter meets the technical requirements of a 'surviving relative' for the purpose of 'inheriting' the lease.

I recommend that you consult with an attorney to preserve your daughter's right to continue in the apartment.

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Answered on 9/08/05, 1:52 pm
John Friedman Law Office of John K. Friedman
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Re: Landlord refuses rent payment

If the rent is from your mother he can't refuse it. He has no right to force her to come to his office, esp. if he's been apprised of her situation. Send him a registered/certified letter reviewing the situation for him (to get it on the record) and don't stop payment on any of the checks you/your mother sends. If he wants to try to evict for non-payment, let him explain it to a judge ("Your honor, we don't believe the old lady who's had a stroke . . .").

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Answered on 9/08/05, 10:11 am
Stephen Loeb Law Office of Stephen R. Loeb
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Re: Landlord refuses rent payment

My guess he's trying to set up an eviction proceeding. He will not be legally able to do it. IF your mother is interested, the landlord might be amenable to a buyout of her lease. These situations come up all the time.

Should you like to discuss this or any other legal matter, you can e-mail me for more information about low cost face-to-face, on-line, or a telephone consultation with a lawyer in our office.

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Answered on 9/08/05, 11:46 am

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