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Posted by gary on April 23, 2001 at 15:11:26:

In Reply to: Re: RENT OVERCHARGE posted by adam on April 23, 2001 at 14:53:46:

: : : I recently moved into a rent stabilized apt. in NYC. It came to my attention that the previous tenants were paying roughly $500 and I was paying $1700. I ordered the rental history from the HSRC and it was true. My question is: Do I talk to the landlord first and try to reach an agreement with him or do I just go ahead and file the complaint and start the paper trail? I'm not sure how to drop the bomb.
: : : Any pointers would be very helpful.

: : What was the basis of the rent increase? It should say in the rent history. Presumably it was justified on tbe basis of improvements to the apartment. Often the charges are grossly overstated. I have no experience fighting such things, but maybe someone who does can address your problem.
: : What I do know, which is very little, is that if you can prove he inflated the charges, you can get a refund, and possibly additional damages. But can you prove it?
: : If he's saying a new stove cost $80,000 that he's amortizing--OK, you have an overcharge. I see no point in talking with the landlord over that. Keep in mind, by the way, that you have limited time to challenge the rent.

: The only things that are listed on the rental history are new Stove and Frigerator. I would assume that 1/80 of that cost does not add up to an over 300% increase in rent. Could I be mistaken? I'm not really looking for a refund but rather a new lease that reflects the legal value of the apartment.

Holy moley, when I said "$80,000 for a new stove" I was joking. But it looks like the guy may have actually done something like that.

Again, I am not your best source of info on rent overcharge complaints.
However--I do believe that your lease should include a disclosure on a rider indicating how your rent was calculated--showing the old rent and what was tacked on.
Someone else will have to walk you through the rent-overcharge procedure. That is your next step, if you were overcharged.
Forget about talking to the landlord. From what you've told me I see two possibilities:
1)The rent was correctly calculated. If so, he is within his rights and he ain't going to cut it. You'll have to live with it. You might be able to negotiate a decrease in rent for the new lease, but that would be on the basis of the market.
2) The rent was not correctly calculated. If so, he is a crook and he ain't going to cut it. You could still negotiate if the rental market is in your favor, but you would be letting him get away with fraud. You may be entitled to a rent rollback and, I believe, treble damages.

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