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Re: Rent Control and Essential Services

Posted by   on January 02, 2001 at 08:36:18:

In Reply to: Rent Control and Essential Services posted by CG on January 02, 2001 at 03:21:30:

A change to the Multiple Dwelling Law in the late 1950s or early 1960s required landlords to furnish heat (or apartment heaters) in cold-water flats. Rent increases were granted for the increased service.

I once lived in a building that had been a cold-water flat. When I went over the rent history for my apartment, I discovered that the previous landlord had received an excessive rent increase. That landlord had claimed that certain rooms faced an open air shaft, when those rooms actually faced a closed air shaft.

The rent increase for rooms facing a closed air shaft was less than for rooms facing an open air shaft. I filed a fraud complaint with the rent control agency, and the rents for all 16 apartments in the two buildings served by the common furnace were reduced retroactively. When the recalculations were made, any percentage increases (15% for a rent controlled vacancy in those days) were also adjusted retroactively.

I believe I was the only tenant who paid the lower rent. I also successfully sued to recover the overcharge, although I lived in the building for only a few months.

: Hi! I'm wondering if anyone knows whether heat is considered an essential service in a rent controlled apt?

: According to the DHCR fact sheets #3:

: "Under rent control, the owner must provide and maintain all services furnished or required to be furnished on the base date of May 1, 1950 for rent controlled apartments outside of NYC, and March 1, 1943 for those within NYC."

: Although my apt was registered as a cold water flat in 1943, I have had heat for the last couple of decades. Is my landlord required to provide heat and hot water in this situation?

: Thank you in advance for your help!

: CG

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