On May 24, 2010, notes were posted on the door of my store from companies
that I did not know notifying me that they will come to change the lock on the
front door of my store and collect rent. This is despite the fact that I had already
posted a sign on the store stating that we will be re-opened on June 12, 2010.
On May 25, I called The Bank, who just took over the building after a
foreclosure sale, and let them know that I was going to be admitted into
the hospital for surgery.
Later that afternoon on May 25, my helper found out that the store's front door
lock had been changed. There was a note from the above company (I do not
know them) posted on the door with a strange name and phone number.
There was a woman, who did not identify herself, who asked my helper for
a store lease. My helper didn't have a lease for this woman.
On May 26 the bank called me, when I was still under my recovery from my
surgery, to harass me and demanded a lease for a key. I told the bank that
I had been under recovery for my surgery and I could not even leave my house
due to my recovery and condition.
On June 11, I called the bank for a key to re-open my store for business since
on May 24 we had posted a sign stating that we will re-open on June 12.
The bank ignored my request by delaying its answers. Then I called the company
who changed the lock on my store's front door. The receptionist of this company
told me that the person who held the key was on his vacation until Monday,
So far, no one has called me back in regards to me getting a key to open the door.
This bank illegally locked out my store when I was in the hospital for surgery.
There is potential loss of merchandise, personal items (stolen by people who
conducted the lockout), and furthermore my beauty supplies may have been
damaged by heat since my helper couldn't get in to check up on those
merchandises that needed to be checked up and managed. This has also been
extremely stressful and has been quite damaging to my health, particularly as
I am trying to recover from surgery.
On June 16, at 11:15 am, I call 911 and the 911 police officer, XXX # XXX
arrived at 12:15pm, he instructed me that he was unable to help me except
providing his name and his badge # XXXX for proof of his appearance.
I am still locked out. I have lost a lot of business since June 12. There may
have been a lot of new customers that avoided our store since our store never
re-opened on June 12.
Thus, I am intending not to pay rent for this bank and will sue them for
punitive damages. My health, my business, and personal well being has been
seriously damaged from this illegal lockout that has occurred.
My email: [email protected]
2 Answers from Attorneys
You were locked out, which may or may not be a violation of your lease and New York laws. Without more information, it is difficult to advise you. I suggest that you retain an attorney who will review your lease and the facts and advise you accordingly.
What happened to you is illegal. If the bank was to evict, it simply would have to serve notice and a certified copy of the Judgment of Foreclosure. It did not.
Under NY RPAPL 853, "If a person is disseized, ejected, or put out of real property in a forcible or unlawful manner, or, after he has been put out, is held and kept out by force or by putting him in fear of personal violence or by unlawful means, he is entitled to recover treble damages in an action therefor against the wrong-doer."
Collect your evidence. This includes receipts for your lost merchandise and calculation of lost income. You should also collect all notices, communications and photographs.
Finally, you should send an overnight letter stating that you have been illegally evicted and demanding immediate possession of the store.