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I call Bullshit on Frank McCourt

September 1, 2011

@BillShaikin of the LA Times had an interesting tweet about Frank McCourt’s new apartment lease that caught my eye. In McCourt’s court filing he said the landlord “requires” him to pay 6 months rent upfront due to concerns regarding Mr. McCourt’s liquidity. 2 months as a security deposit & 4 months of prepaid rent. I’m calling Bullshit!

CA law considers any upfront payment on a rental as “security deposit”. That includes any advance rents, cleaning fees or deposits, and actual security for any possible future damages. All upfront payment to a landlord is in essence secured interest in favor of the landlord. California law on such upfront payment is pretty clear; a landlord can’t require more than the equivalent of 2 months rent for an unfurnished property & 3 months for a furnished property.

Mr. McCourt might not be the brightest man but he needs to consider hiring smarter lawyers & a better leasing agent cause those people should know better. As a tenant, McCourt can offer to prepay 4 or 6 months rent but his landlord cannot require it. Hence, it throws out his claim that the “landlord requires the advance payment due to the landlord’s concern of his liquidity”. If his landlord is only renting to him due to the excessive deposits upfront his landlord is breaking the law. If McCourt’s liquidity was a real concern to the landlord then the landlord should just outright decline Mr. McCourt as a tenant. I would be very interested on seeing who Mr. McCourts new landlord is.

Come on Frank, just sell the team already & stop inundating us with your legal Bullshit court filings!

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