Spitzer Settlement With Buffalo Area Property Management Firm Protects The Rights Of 200 Tenants

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a Williamsville property management company that will protect the rights of more than 200 tenants in the Buffalo area.

The settlement requires Clover Management, Inc. (CMI), whose main office is located at 1430 Millersport Highway, to place the security deposits of its tenants in trust accounts and to inform them where the funds have been deposited. CMI is further required to give tenants the option of having the interest on the accounts applied to their rent, receive annual payments, or to receive the payment when their tenancy ends. An investigation by the Attorney General's office found that CMI failed to deposit tenants' funds in trust accounts and that the company failed to inform them of their ability to access the interest on such accounts.

"This settlement ensures that this company follows the law regarding security deposits and provides tenants with the opportunity to know where their security deposits are located," Spitzer said. "My office will continue to work to ensure that the rights of tenants are protected."

As part of the settlement, CMI will also pay the state a $10,000 fine and $5,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.

CMI is a residential and commercial property management company in the Buffalo area. The company's holdings include three apartment complexes, with 204 apartments, in the settlement. The buildings involved in the settlement are the Jill Joseph Tower, at 66 Custer Street; the University Court Apartments, located at 3442 Main Street, and the Delaware-Franklin Apartments, located at 567 Delaware Avenue, all in Buffalo.

The settlement requires the company to establish trust accounts for each of the three apartment complexes by depositing into each account a sum equal to all of the security deposits plus interest. The settlement also requires that CMI end the practice of charging tenants up to 50 percent of their security deposits if the company finds that their smoke detectors are not in working order. The company will be required to inform tenants of CMI's responsibilities with respect to their installation and maintenance.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Dennis Rosen, of the Buffalo Regional Office under Bureau Chief Barbra Kavanaugh. It was referred to the Attorney General's office by Frank Perez, a Fair Housing Officer for the city of Buffalo.