Posted by Mark Smith on August 06, 1999 at 08:55:07:
What Will suggested (see the end of this message) might be worth trying, but the landlord might not be willing to add this to the lease.
It is still a very strange way of doing business
in what is an ordinary situation. The broker's
explanation that the landlord was doing this for
tax reasons is ridiculous. The landlord was
doing this because the current market rent is
only $1,100 -- not the almost $1,500 in the
lease. The landlord has to file a form with
DHCR, stating the actual rent being paid, and the otherwise legal rent.
The broker's fee of $2,400 is over two months of
the rent (and security deposit) that you paid.
This seems very high, and you might be able to
get a refund of part of this unconscionable fee.
If you renew your lease, the increased rent will
be based on the $1,100 preferential rent. If you move, the vacancy rent will be based on the
$1,500 or so in the lease, although the landlord
may still be able to rent the apartment only for
a lesser market rent at that time.
Of course, all of this becomes academic if you
find out from DHCR that the legal rent should be
less than $1,100. But don't be too quick to file an overcharge complaint with DHCR. You might get better results (and certainly faster results)
from housing court or civil court.
I received this e-mail from Gene Portnoy:
The brokers fee was $2400.
I found out about the apartment thru the broker,
so I don't have a copy of the ad. But I think
they might have posted it in the village voice.
So I'll try to get a back issue.
I spoke to the broker about the difference in
rents between what was on the lease and what I
have to pay and he said that legally once the
apartment is listed for $1100 and the security is $1100 and the acceptance of first months rent of
$1100 is made, the landlord can't just raise the
rent up when he feels like it
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