SYRACUSE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement agreement with six Syracuse-area apartment complexes that repeatedly failed to return tenants’ security deposits at lease-end and, when applicable, to pay interest to tenants on their initial deposits. The settlement will return deposits to dozens of former tenants and resolve complaints against Abraham Mendlowitz, President of AIM Properties Corp. and AIM Properties Management Corp. Under the agreement, $13,983.50 in restitution has been refunded to former tenants by the apartment complexes and $15,000 has been paid in investigative costs to the state. The complaints involved apartment buildings formerly under Mendlowitz’ management in Syracuse and Liverpool.
“Lease agreements require obligations of both tenants and landlords alike,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Just as tenants must pay their rent on time, landlords must meet their duties, including returning security deposits and abiding by the law. I am committed to standing up for tenants when they are treated unfairly.”
Former tenants of Breckenridge Apartments, Ridge Wood Apartment Complex, and Kingswood Garden Apartments in Liverpool; and Greenway Place Apartments, Briarcliff Estates, and Sunnycrest Manor Apartments in Syracuse complained to the Attorney General’s Office about their landlord’s failure to return security deposits. State law provides that tenants are entitled to their deposit, along with interest, when an apartment building contains six or more units.
In addition to complaints about security deposits, this summer the Attorney General’s Office received complaints from current tenants who reported that National Grid had posted signs and mailed warning notices of a potential utility shut-off because management had failed to pay the utility bills. Based on the abundance of complaints from consumers, the Attorney General’s Office commenced an investigation of Abraham Mendlowitz, President of AIM Properties Corp. and AIM Properties Management Corp.
Today’s settlement agreement requires that Mendlowitz and his property management companies, as well as each of the following apartment complexes, return security deposits to all tenants who are entitled to a refund and to fully comply in all respects with Article 7 of the General Obligations Law:
- Briarcliff Estates: 300 Audubon Parkway, Syracuse, NY;
- Sunnycrest Manor Apartments: 725 Hixson Avenue, Syracuse, NY;
- Breckenridge Apartments: 4320 Arlington Circle, Liverpool, NY;
- Ridge Wood Apartment Complex: 7426 Henry Clay Boulevard, Liverpool, NY;
- Kingswood Garden Apartments: 1150 Vine Street, Liverpool, NY; and
- Greenway Place Apartments: 200-04 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, NY.
The properties must also maintain separate lease security trust accounts for the tenants of these buildings and any others it presently owns or subsequently acquires, with the accounts maintained in a banking organization within New York State. In addition, lease security accounts must be established for current tenants and for each new tenant, upon receiving a security deposit from that tenant.
The respondents named in the Assurance of Discontinuance must also issue security deposit refund checks for former tenants within 30 days. The checks will include an additional amount of $5.00 to cover interest payments which could not be accurately calculated due to the apartments’ failure to maintain proper escrow accounts. Current tenants should receive notification from building management regarding their security deposit, including amount, escrow bank account and interest accrued. The respondent also paid costs for the investigation in the amount of $15,000.
Any former tenant who failed to receive a refund of a rent security deposit that was not due to a failure to pay rent or damage to the apartment should contact the Attorney General’s Syracuse Regional Office at 315-448-4848.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith C. Malkin of the Syracuse Regional Office with the investigation performed by Senior Law Department Investigator Andrea Buttenschon. The Syracuse Regional Office is led by Assistant Attorney General In-Charge Ed Thompson. The Syracuse Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Offices led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.