Attorney General Cuomo Protects Rome Apartment Complex Tenants From Wrongful Eviction
ROME, N.Y. (March 13, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has obtained a state court order to stop the owner of Rome’s Maplewood Garden Apartments from wrongfully evicting tenants with valid leases. His office is also seeking penalties against the company and investigating the landlord’s failure to keep proper records of the tenants’ security deposits.
Oneida County State Supreme Court Justice Samuel D. Hester ordered MHS Management Group, LLC, of Long Island, to cease attempting to evict tenants from its Rome apartment complex. The order also requires MHS to provide records of all security deposits to the Attorney General’s Office.
“Legally binding leases must be honored,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “I have a long-standing commitment to fair housing, and my office will continue to take action against irresponsible landlords who maintain an ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ mentality with little regard to their tenants.”
Maplewood Garden Apartments is located on East Bloomfield St. and was formerly housing for Griffiss Air Force Base. At least ten tenants with valid leases – some of which extended through the end of October 2008 – received notice in February stating that MHS had decided to intentionally break their agreements in order to facilitate renovation plans. The notice demanded that the tenants move out by the end of March.
The Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation confirming the notices. It is also seeking a $500 fine for each attempt to break a lease. That fine – plus the recovery of $2,000 in costs to the state – could result in at least a $12,000 penalty for MHS.
The investigation also revealed that MHS may not have established a trust account for tenants’ security deposits or kept sufficient records of those funds, as required by law.
Attorney General Cuomo urges all tenants to know their rights with regard to rent, leases and other housing issues. His office’s Tenant’s Rights Guide is available online at www.ag.ny.gov/publications/Tenant_Rights_2011.pdf.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General In-Charge of the Utica Office Joel L. Marmelstein with assistance by Investigator Joseph Kelly.