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DHCR Horror Story #13812 - 'preferential rents'

Posted by chelsea on July 31, 2001 at 07:45:30:

A tenant I'm working with has filed for an overcharge in a case that involves, among other issues, preferential rents. In January, he requested a rent history by phone. He was sent a history that showed only four years back, with "actual" and "preferential" rents indicated. He's challenging that preferential rent, so he needed a complete, certified record. (The new RSC amendments allow examination of rents four years prior to the vacancy of a tenant paying a preferential rent, so that's beyond the usual four years.) This time, he went to the Beaver Street DHCR office, and was given a printout with a column marked simply "rent." Only it wasn't the actual rent paid but apparently what the landlord claimed was the legal regulated rent. There's no notation of preferential rent, so if he didn't already know that was the case, he'd have no way of knowing these rents were never paid and no way of challenging them. DHCR seems to be simply barring any examination of the prefential rents, and locking in whatever the landlord registered as the legal rent, though the previous tenant was paying many hundreds of dollars less (and the tenant before that, and the tenant before that, for 12 or 15 years.)

In this tenant's case, we already have some of the information in another form. But I'm wondering if this is a policy change that is being applied to other tenants. If so, it needs to resisted in the strongest possible terms.

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