Can a property management group terminate their relationship with the landlord during a deposit dispute?

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Can a property management group terminate their relationship with the landlord during a deposit dispute?

I signed a lease with a property management group and was a tenant for a year and a half. After vacating, the property management group sent invoices over saying what we owed for damages. I put down in writing and sent an email describing all the items I wanted to dispute on the invoices. In 11 days I received a response that the relationship between the property management and landlord had been terminated and I have to start all over with the dispute with the landlord. Is this legally binding if I signed a lease and made a deposit with the property management group?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No. This is not legally binding as you had no privity of contract with the landlord regarding these disputes or the tenancy. The landlord here really was a third party beneficiary of your contract with the property management group but unless that is ultimately made clear in your contractual relationship, you need to inform the property management group it has failed to sustain its dispute with you and you demand your monies back. It should give you your money back and possibly seek contribution from the landlord. Now, this would be different if you knew the property management group was the landlord's agent at the time of signing the contract (leasehold), in which case you continue discussions with the landlord (not start over).


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