Friday, September 15, 2006

Advice, Generally

The following is intended as legal advice, but does not mean the Jamestown Lawyer is agreeing to act as counsel or represent you in any way. In fact, it's more "life advice" than legal advice.

Here's a tip: get a receipt.

New York Real Property Law 235-e says that the landlord is to issue a written receipt whenever a cash payment is made. The statute is pretty much without teeth, though, and there's nothing to cause compliance. Some courts have said that there is a presumption of payment against the landlord when a receipt isn't issued:
"[W]here the only evidence before the court is the contradictory statements given under oath by the respective parties, and where the landlord has clearly violated section 235-e of the Real Property Law, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the tenant." Brinkman v. Cahill, 143 Misc.2d 1048, 1049, 543 NYS2d 636 (1989), citing Palmieri v. Hernandez, 127 Misc.2d 369, 485 NYS2d 915 (Mt. Vernon City Ct. 1984).

Locally, the exact opposite presumption holds sway: "no receipt" equates with "no payment".

In another case I'm dealing with, someone allegedly made a huge payment on a purchase and didn't get a receipt. Now there's a very real chance she'll never see any of those thousands of dollars again, and that amount also won't be counted toward what she owes. All because she was doing "a favor" by not being a pain and asking for a receipt.

Be a pain. Be annoying. Hold onto your money until you see pen and paper in the other party's hand. You and I will both sleep better with a written receipt.


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