Quote of the Day - Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates... When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, 'Do I know you?'
You sign the broker's listing agreement. You probably don't pay close attention to what it says. The broker finds the perfect place, and you sign the lease with the landlord. For $11,000 per month. You even go so far that you negotiate a reduction in the brokerage fee.
Side note here: we've got a sophisticated tenant on our hands. But not so sophisticated that the prospective tenant hired a lawyer to review things. OK, now back to the story.
Then, just as you get ready to move in, the landlord decides to renovate.
You can't move in. Well, for $11,000 a month, it's not acceptable to move in - that's probably a more accurate way to put it.
But what happens to that lease you signed?
If you're the prospective tenant now dispossessed, you refuse to pay the broker's fee. Of course. Likewise, of course, the broker sues for his fee.
Drum roll, please. The broker.
What, you say? The tenant didn't get the benefit of the bargain?
The Appellate Division, First Department didn't agree, and held for the broker in the case entitled: Scour v. Dwelling Quest Corp. It's a New Yarwk case discussed by New York Attorney Peter Herman in the National Law Journal (subscription required).
The court reasoned that the broker had done what the prospective tenant had asked him to do: find an apartment and get a lease signed. It thought that it wasn't the broker's fault that the landlord later decided to renovate, making the apartment uninhabitable.
The case is still subject to an appeal, and sounds to me like it will be. I'm guessing that the apartment was not "suitable." Of course, we can expect one more lawsuit out of this: the tenant will sue the landlord for the broker's fee she had to pay.
Oh yes. That listing agreement that the prospective tenant didn't send to her attorney?
It was a one-pager.