Posted by Mark Smith on October 30, 1998 at 02:06:46:
In Reply to: collecting rent overcharges posted by dina on October 29, 1998 at 19:23:02:
I assume that the DHCR refund order is against the landlord. Is it also against a particular managing agent? The simplest thing to do would be to withhold the rent, possibly paying a token amount like $1 to indicate that you are attempting to collect on the DHCR refund order.
If the DHCR order can be docketed like a Supreme Court judgment, there would be a lien against the building, which could be collected if the building is sold. As judgment creditors, the tenants who are entitled to refunds can get subpoenas and restraining notices against the landlord's bank accounts and probably against the landlord's income (e.g., rent from commercial tenants and from residential tenants not subject to the DHCR refund order, and the net amount that the managing agent owes to the landlord).
A lawyer experienced in collecting judgments would be helpful, but they may charge a large percentage of the amount of the refund order as a fee. If you take the preliminary steps of subpoenas and restraining notices, you might also be able to bring a motion for contempt against the landlord and the managing agent if they fail to comply.
: I organize tenant associations in Queens and
Manhattan. Several tenants in one building were
awarded rent overcharges by DHCR. The tenants have
not been able to collect the overcharges because the
landlord keeps changing the name of his management
company. This affects the collection of overcharge
and treble damages because the sheriff will not seize funds if the bank account name and the name on the
judgement order does not match up. This is the case
even if the landlord is the same for all the
different management names he has come up with.
: Any ideas besides a civil court action? Any action that can be taken without involving an attorney?
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