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Rent Overcharge and Legal Fees

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

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Rent Overcharge and Legal Fees

Postby 575MidTownKid » Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:46 pm

Hi there,

I have a questions about winning a rent overcharge case using a lawyer on a contingency agreement. The lawyer is entitled to 1/3 of the amount the court determines has been overcharged. From my readings - many cases the landlord is never able to write a check for the amount that is owed to the tenant.

So does the lawyer then have to get paid out of pocket by the tenant?

Additionally, if a tenant wins a claim and never sees any money from the landlord - the tenant can live in the apartment free of charge until the amount the court determine should be recovered is use - but what if she doesn't want to live in the apartment for that long?

Thank you,
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Re: Rent Overcharge and Legal Fees

Postby TenantNet » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:18 pm

You keep posting new threads. One the second thread I missed some issues because I didn't put it together with the facts of the first thread. So please don't do that.

Most tenant attorneys I know do not charge on contingency. I suppose you might find some. But at the end of a court proceeding, you would have to win, you must have the court fees clause in your lease and a judge must order the amount of legal fees to be paid (by the landlord).

Remember though there are two different things. If you file an overcharge case in Supreme or Civil (overcharge can only be a defense in Housing Court), and if you win, then you might get treble damages for up to the 2 most recent years, then simple interest at 9% for the second two years.

Per your agreement, your atty would get 1/3 of that.

But in ordering attorney fees, the court would have to look at the fees the attorney charged to you. I do not know how a court would resolve that in a case without defined gees, i.e., contingency.

I'm assuming a lot also figures in if the LL is judgment-proof. Of course you can put a lien on the property.
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