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Illegal rent

Posted by Pat on October 23, 1998 at 07:19:47:

I cannot get help from any city agency because the bldg. I live in is not on their computer. I have lived here for three years. It is a multiple dwelling with five apts and a small doctors office, which is really an apt. with stove and refrig removed. I was told when I moved in that this was a co-op and I was to pay $163. to owner's sister and $437 to owner by mail in another state. I have always done my own painting and repairs because I was told that other tenants would not chip in to fix my apt and owner had no obligation as this was a co-op. Over a recent dispute concerning mice in my apt. the owner (at the time I thought he was owner of my apartment) told me that the "Legal rent" on the apt is $163, but he will not settle for that. He then raised my rent another $100 a month, citing my marriage a year ago as the reason for the increase. I am still paying the $163 to sister and now $537 to owner. I researched the building and it is not a co-op but a multiple dwelling with one owner. Every one else pays $163 a month except me. I don't know what he means by legal rent but obviously there is something not right about this situation. I looked up the C opf O and it has the building as a 2-family with store, which is not accurate. I am afraid to make waves unless I have 100% proof that I am right because I do not have a lease and owner refuses to give me a lease. How do I find out the real situation here? The building is not registered as a co-op, a multiple dwelling or a rent stabilized bldg. I have a feeling these apartments are rent controlled but don't know how to find out. The only record of this building is with dept of finance which has it as a 5 family with store. The C of O is for half of the building, There is no C of O on adjoing building which shares same boiler, tax lot and owner. Please help me if you can. I cannot afford increase and need to know if my rent is illegal.

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