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Situation involving landlord and suspicious rent roll

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

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Situation involving landlord and suspicious rent roll

Postby davidmoore123 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:15 pm

My landlord is trying to evict me. I did not sign a lease to renew because we didn't agree on the rent. Since the date my lease was up for renewal I have been living as a month to month tenant paying the previous rent. Now my landlord brought a holdover proceeding to evict me. Before the proceeding I went to DHCR and obtained a rent roll for the apartment. I noticed that there are a couple of suspicious entries. There are two consecutive vacancy increases, each about 17 percent with no tenant name registered. It just states that the status is vacant and the new rent number. I pointed this out to DHCR and they said it could be a mistake or even fraud. Fraud because landlord is trying to deregulate apartment prematurely. Now, I don't have a rent overcharge claim per se as I've been paying a preferential rate that is half of the legal regulated rent. So it's not clear which DHCR form to fill out. I want to buy time to move out (while paying rent). I was wondering if I can request DHCR to make a rent determination even though I'm receiving the preferential rate - which will stall the eviction until there is a determination made. What should I argue in court.
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Re: Situation involving landlord and suspicious rent roll

Postby TenantNet » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:40 pm

You say you're rent stabilized. Lease renewals offers must be on the DHCR form RTP-8 (was it?) and must conform to RGB rent increase percentages. Was it?

You're still a rent stab tenant even though the LL may think you're a month-to month. You still have all your RS rights.

If the LL did things properly - as above - then you probably don't have much of a defense. Remember, rent must be the legal rent (adjusted for pref. rent, if any). Setting the legal rent is not a negotiation, although Pref Rent can be.

You say you got the rent history from DHCR (not "rent roll"). How long ago were the suspicious entries? How long have you lived in the unit? Unless you can show fraud, the SOL is 4 years on overcharges, although no SOL on RS status.

Normally you would file a claim with DHCR for failure to offer a lease. That would be form RA-90. See http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/ra90.pdf and depends on what the LL did.

However, some might think the proper form is a lease overcharge, even though technically you haven't been overcharged per se. You would make that clear on the form and state you are asking DHCR to set the legal rent. See http://www.nyshcr.org/forms/rent/ra89.pdf

When you called DHCR, what did they say? (not that they're always correct)

You say the LL has brought a holdover proceeding? At what stage is that? Notice to Cure? Notice of termination? Petition? Have you made appearances?

Sometimes you can get a court case dismissed because of a pending DHCR proceeding, but if you haven't filed one yet, that might be difficult. Even so, I would file with DHCR ASAP. Often courts are nothing but happy to get a case off their calendar.

But if that doesn't work you may be left with negotiating the time to vacate with the LL. I've seen up to a year.
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Re: Situation involving landlord and suspicious rent roll

Postby davidmoore123 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:58 pm

Thanks for the response.
I think my previous post was unclear. I'll try to explain things better.


According to the rent roll the apartment was destabilized in 2011 because it reached 2000 dollars a month rent. So the apartment is market rent. However I think the destabilization in 2011 was invalid because of the suspicious consecutive vacancy increases with no tenant name. If that is indeed the situation (fraud occurred) than maybe the apartment should still be stabilized. The landlord has been charging a preferential rent for the past 15 years of about half the legal regulated rent. So there has been a parallel balance in which the legal regulated rent has been going up at the same time as the preferential rent. So the question is do I have standing to bring a request for DHCR to determine whether the 2011 destabilization was valid? I would not be eligible for an overcharge ( both because of the 4 year look back period and because I pay less than what the legal regulated rent would have been even if not destabilized). My objectives for bringing a request to DHCR:
1. Stall the eviction proceeding till I can move out in a year
2. Report a landlord for possibly committing fraud
*3. If I was interested in staying, which I'm not, force the landlord to offer a renewal lease upon a determination that the apartment is stabilized.
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Re: Situation involving landlord and suspicious rent roll

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:45 am

The points you raise are good and might be indicators of fraud. Problem is that DHCR doesn't always buy that as it's primarily an anti-tenant agency. And remember there's a 4 year statute of limitations. But also keep in mind the 4 yr SOL is for rent overcharges, not RS status.

Rent histories (not rent rolls) are what LLs report to DHCR and not necessarily correct. DHCR just accepts it unless challenged.

Also, find out when in 2011 it became vacant as because in June/July the rent laws were renewed and changed so the deregulation trigger became $2500, not $2000. If it happened after the effective date of the law change, then that could also be a factor.

Can't say more as you didn't answer all the questions.
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