Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 For You: Brooklyn Renter Wants Security Deposit Back To Deal With Sandy Damage

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A Brooklyn couple lost almost everything they owned when Hurricane Sandy swept through and flooded their apartment. Now they say with no insurance they are struggling to reclaim some of their losses and battling with their landlord in the process. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.

Clothes, jewelry, furniture, electronics -- Sergey Karpenko and his girlfriend had all of their personal possessions ruined when their rented apartment in the Manhattan Beach section of Brooklyn was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

"Everything's lost from A to Z," says Karpenko. "Right after that, our landlord said we have insurance not to worry about anything and we just keep being postponed. It's been over a month now."

Like many renters, Karpenko and his girlfriend had no renter's insurance and now he says their landlord claims she did not have flood insurance for her building, which is located in Zone A.

Karpenko says FEMA gave them $2,500 in assistance but that is only a tiny portion of their losses, which amount to $35,000.

To pile on to his losses, the uninsured renter claims his landlord is refusing to return his security deposit.

Tenants and Neighbors, a tenant advocacy group, says tenants in Karpenko's situation are absolutely entitled to get their security deposits back.

"They didn't cause the flooding that happened, it's not any negligence or fault of their own," says Sam Stein, a spokesman for Tenants and Neighbors. "If they're not getting it back from their landlord they should file with the attorney general a rent security complaint form because that is a violation of the law."

Karpenko's landlord, who says she too is a victim of Sandy, claims her tenant is owed only a portion of his security deposit, less than half, because of outstanding electric and phone charges.

As for whether Karpenko should be covered under his landlord's insurance, Stein says it depends on the type of coverage.

"Renters should really get a copy of the landlord's flood insurance. They should collectively ask to see it so they can know exactly what is and what isn't covered," Stein says.

For now, Karpenko says all he and his girlfriend have left is their car and the hope that somehow they can claim on their losses.

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