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Queensbury family says deceased father shouldn't have to pay rent for apartment he never lived in

September 09, 2019 07:25 PM

QUEENSBURY - June Stoddard-Finemore is grieving the loss of her father, Charles Stoddard.

"He just didn't bounce back this time."

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The 84-year old, who friends called "Charlie," retired from the Watervliet Arsenal where he designed cannons.

Before that, he was a paratrooper during the Korean War.

However, now it's his daughter in the middle of a battle she never anticipated.

On August 12, Stoddard signed a lease to live at The Willows senior housing complex in Queensbury because he wanted to be closer to his daughter.

He paid a $965 security deposit for a lease beginning September 1. But he passed away August 16.

His daughter notified the complex operator, Schermerhorn Real Estate Holdings, in person and in writing. Twelve days later, the company, which has hundreds of apartments in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties sent her a letter, expressing their condolences and reminding her that despite her father's death, he was still legally responsible for paying rent and utilities until they can find another tenant.

"The right thing to do is to void the lease, especially because of the situation in which we're in," said Stoddard-Finemore. "My father has never lived in it. We never received a key."

NewsChannel 13 visited the leasing office Monday and staff there contacted the owner of the company who told staff to relay to a reporter that the issue is "a legal matter and in the hands of attorneys," so he didn't want to comment.

Stoddard-Finemore says she used to recommend Schermerhorn apartments, saying they're well maintained, but she won't recommend them again.

She says her father, the one-time paratrooper, would want her to push them to do what's right.

"He wouldn't step down from this," she said. "And he wouldn't want me to step down. He'd want me to stand up."

Stoddard-Finemore says she has contacted NYS Assemblymember Dan Stec because she wants to change state law to get death added to the provisions which allow someone to break a lease.

In the meantime, she says the estate of her deceased father owes the landlord about $3,000 and counting.

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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