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How Can I Check That My Lease Reflects The Proper Rent?

Posted by J.S. on March 31, 1999 at 11:36:22:

A little background. I live in a rent stabilized apartment where I been since 1996. When I moved into the apartment, the landlord had not made any improvements, nor had he even cleaned the apartment. In other words, i got it "as is." I don't know how much rent the previous tenant was paying, but I know the laws are more strict with increasing rents in stabilized apartments. Basically I just want to make sure that my landlord didn't start my lease at an unfair rent increase (i.e. not stipulated by law). Does anyone know how I can check how much my rent should be?
Also, my landlord is very hands-off in terms of taking care of the building. The hallways are dirty, there are missing panes of glass in common doors, hallway lights are going out all the time and being replaced by tenants. What are my options for either having the landlord take better care of the building, or possibly adjusting my rent to reflect the limited service that he gives the building?

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