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LL has not returned signed lease and is withholding rent

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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LL has not returned signed lease and is withholding rent

Postby momtobits » Sun Oct 24, 2021 11:27 am

HI,

I live in an RS apartment and did not receive a signed copy of my lease returned to me, they did furnish me with a timely renewal and I sent it back right away. I emailed them asking about it and they said they did not get it but would "check the mailbox".I had sent my original signed copy certified. My fault for not hounding them, I just forgot about it, I have trusted them till now because they have been decent.

I just noticed they have been withholding rent since June ( lease renews 7/1). I am on direct deposit and don't check that account much because it is just for rent. My fault I know.

Also of note, I have been to court before for harassment by the previous building owners over my RS apartment and I won. I know the laws pretty well but this was a decade ago so could use a "refresher". I realize there is some negligence here on my part, some of this slipped through the cracks with covid stress and I am afraid by not being on top of them I have let too much time elapse and let them sneak a fast one on me. What is my next move ? I have emailed them asking what is going on.

Any advice appreciated.

thank you !
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Re: LL has not returned signed lease and is withholding rent

Postby TenantNet » Sun Oct 24, 2021 1:31 pm

Well, first read this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14414&p=60546

As we've explained on that thread - and many others - the general rule is that the LL fails to offer a RS renewal (on the correct RTP-8 form), the rent cannot go up. See the instructions on the back of the RTP-8 form. Also make sure that the form is not back-dated. A new term can't start until 90 days after the renewal is sent, at a minimum.

This year, it gets a little complicated as the RGB percentage increases are 0% for the first six months of the lease (for a 1-year renewal). But remember, without a renewal, the rent can't go up at all. If your term expires, just keep paying the same rent (I send it - the rent,. not the renewal - with a Certificate of Mailing ($1.50) and I earmark each check or M.O. for a specific month, and always make copies) Follow these rules. If the LL accepts the rent (at the old rent level), then you become a Month-to-Month tenant, but with the same RS protections.

In your case you say a) you got a renewal, b) they say they didn't get it, and c) you sent it by Certified Mail (which is not the same thing as a Certificate of Mailing). Always send renewals by Certified Mail RRR so you can track it.

Did you track it? It's easy, just Google track USPS and put in the certified number. If it shows they got it, then it's their obligation to execute and return it to you. But the lease would renew once you return it to them even if you don't get the executed version back.

If you want to pressure them to send it back, then you can withhold rent and tell them just to send it back to you, (in court that might not hold up as a defense against paying the rent, but in such a case a rent abatement would not be your goal. Before you take action, send them a notice by Cert Mail, so there's no question about this.

Note: This is not legal advice and we are not lawyers. In situations like this, there are not always hard and fast rules; it can depend on how litigious the LL is and if you are prepared to play a little hardball. A lawyer might advise differently. If you want to be cautious, then get legal advice, but not having a lease is not the end of the world. You are still RS.

As for the rent, I assume you mean the LL is not cashing your check or M.O. They don't "withhold the rent," a tenant would do the withholding. In your version of direct deposit (they can differ depending on the bank), is the rent automatically sent to the LL's bank? If so, then what's the problem?

What's next? I would send a letter (CM RRR) asking for the lease if the tracking shows they got it and what's going on with the rent. Start there. Remember, it's not as if they forgot ... you send the letters so you can show them to the judge.

If they got the renewal, you can ask for it again, but make sure the new term starts 90 from now, not from months ago, and at the old rent.

If they didn't get the renewal, then you can't blame them. But still they aren't asking questions.

Also understand that post office workers are getting even more audacious about lying about delivering cert mail. Even with the pandemic, they are still required to deliver - and get a signature if requested. I can't tell you the crap they pull these days. One carrier said he left a package for me (with medicine) with the doorman ... except my building does not have a doorman.
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Re: LL has not returned signed lease and is withholding rent

Postby Landlords Boy » Mon Nov 01, 2021 1:45 pm

TenantNet wrote:Also understand that post office workers are getting even more audacious about lying about delivering cert mail. Even with the pandemic, they are still required to deliver - and get a signature if requested. I can't tell you the crap they pull these days. One carrier said he left a package for me (with medicine) with the doorman ... except my building does not have a doorman.
In my experience, the cert mail signature issue was really bad in 2020 but I think it has improved lately.
On the other hand, the Post Office has deliberately slowed first-class delivery from a nominal three days to five days, effective October 1st.
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