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RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

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

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RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby bentzinjh » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:39 pm

I am heading to the end of my a two years lease. I pay "preferential rent", which is very close to market price in my neighborhood, and the "legal rent" is over $2700 which, If I understand correctly will take out the stabilized status of the apartment. I believe that the legal rent is very unlikely as my apartment is only average or even a little run down. I have the rent history and there is nothing suspicious about it from what I can see.

As it happens also the managing agency just returned a check on the ground that the payee name is wrong. I had used the exact same payee name for 16 months now and they always accepted them. Because I use a BillPay service from my bank, the whole situation needs to be investigated by my credit union before the funds are credited back to my account, which could take weeks. I don't have the cash to pay now.

A few questions:

Is someone familiar with LLs tactics of not cashing rent check, and
Should I be worried?
If yes, what should I do next, bearing in mind that I don't want to be black listed and I am still hoping to be able to negotiate a "reasonable" preferential rent? In your experience, given the story above, is it likely that they will offer me a preferential rent?.
How long do I have to pay the rent now?

Thanks all.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:05 pm

The threshold these days is indeed $2,700 for high rent deregulation, but as you are already a RS tenant in occupancy, the LL cannot deregulate the unit until you leave. The rent could double, but you would still be RS until you vacate. (of course high income deregulation can be implemented before you leave if you make that much money).

So your understanding of the RS status is incorrect. You are still RS.

As for the legal rent, well you would have to look at the changes over the years compared with the RGB allowable increases, and vacancy and IAI improvements during vacancies.

On the check, many LLs require the name on the check to be the name on the lease so as not to allow a tenant successor to claim tenancy rights. This is quite normal, but can still be seen as harassment and an attempt to get you out.

But the LL can then turn around and commence a non-payment proceeding in housing court against you. Of course your defense would be that you tendered the rent and it was refused. So I would make sure you have a paper trail. For the time being you should send rent to the LL by certified mail or with a certificate of mailing. I use money orders that give me receipts and can be verified when they were purchased and cashed. I use Western Union, but some swear by US Postal Service money orders.

As for Bill Pay from a credit union, I don't know enough to comment. but you want a paper trail of when it was sent and when if was cashed, or returned.

You said you already pay a Pref Rent, so I don't know what your question is. See the DHCR Fact Sheet on Pref Rents, and what a LL must do to be able to end the PR.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby bentzinjh » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:07 pm

Thank you.
Referring to the returned check issue, the problem with the check is not my name on the check which causes problems but the payee name (pay to ...), which has been the same for more than a year. I think it's harassment but I don't know if I am just being paranoid or if they want me out.

I made a mistake above about the legal rent. It is right now at $2500 but will jump 20% if I vacate the apartment, which then would take away the stabilized status.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby TenantNet » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:26 pm

What do you mean by the mistake is the payee? Do you mean for a year you have been sending rent to "John Smith Landlord Inc" and they claim the LL is really "Roger Jones Landlord Inc"?

If that's the case, did they ever notify you as to the change in LL? Is it the same LL under a different name?

Even if the rent jumps to $2700, it might not given the uncertainty over the Altman decision that is pending. If you're worried about that, then scrutinize the past rent and see if there exist ground to challenge the legal rent.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby bentzinjh » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:42 am

The company instructed 2years ago to make the checks to 65-21 65th Road LLC which is a subcompany of LANLORD INC. The payee name on my checks was LANDLORD INC (65-21 65th Road).
The Altman decision you say? Thanks, I am going to look into it.

I worry that they will start doing anything they can to have me out and also jack up my preferential rent to the rate of the legal rent.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby TenantNet » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:39 am

If that is the actual name of the subcompany, you should edit it out. Never put anything on a public forum that might be identifiable.

Search for Altman on this forum - we've written about it. It's still pending at the NYS Court of Appeals. Basically it says that on a vacancy, if the LL takes a vacancy and performs IAI improvements that result in a rent greater than the threshold for high-rent deregulation, the deregulation does not become effective on the next tenant, but must wait until the next tenant after that before the unit may be deregulated.

So if the tenant before you was regulated, you might fall into that situation.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby bentzinjh » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:15 pm

Thanks a lot. I'll look at it.

It's not the real names, just the real syntax.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:45 pm

bentzinjh wrote:I worry that they will start doing anything they can to have me out and also jack up my preferential rent to the rate of the legal rent.


Assuming that they've handled your prior leases properly (shown both the pref rent and the legal rent, and not stated that the pref rent is good for the duration of the tenancy), then they're under no obligation to renew your preferential rent. They can just offer a renewal at the full legal rent.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:48 pm

bentzinjh wrote:The company instructed 2years ago to make the checks to 65-21 65th Road LLC which is a subcompany of LANLORD INC. The payee name on my checks was LANDLORD INC (65-21 65th Road).


For context, I can understand why a landlord wouldn't want rent checks made out that way. Part of the purpose of putting a building into an LLC is to silo any claims against that building, including by creditors, away from other assets of the landlord. By taking checks made out to the parent entity, they might be deemed to be "piercing the corporate veil," and creating risks to the business. No reason YOU should care, but thought it might be useful to explain why the landlord might deem the difference between "65-21 65th Road LLC" and "LANDLORD INC (65-21 65th Road)" to be significant.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby bentzinjh » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:37 pm

I did and didn't receive answer. My concern is that they accepted identical checks for 16 months prior to this last check, and this, just a few days before the 150 days before the end of the lease. I was wondering if this might have been some harrassment scheme given that, for them at least, if I vacate the apartment, they can rise the rent by 20% which would put it above the 2700$ treshold.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:27 pm

I answered your questions above. It's possible you might be reading too much into this. Have you asked them about this? What name do they want on the check? Maybe it's just a typo or something.

That it's close to the end of the lease - I don't think it means that much. Lease renewal and payment of rent are really separate issues. You could have been on rent strike for an entire year, and the LL's obligation to renew the lease still holds.

If they want to concoct some story about not paying rent, then they're going to do so and take you to court, where your defense will be that you tendered the rent, and they refused it. You can offer to pay it on the spot. Just remember to make copies of everything, including envelopes with postmarks.
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Re: RS Lease Renewal Period - LL Returns Check.

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:21 am

bentzinjh wrote:I was wondering if this might have been some harrassment scheme given that, for them at least, if I vacate the apartment, they can rise the rent by 20% which would put it above the 2700$ treshold.


But I thought that you said that your preferential rent (which is below the legal rent) was market rate for the apartment. Landlords have a lot of incentive to get RS tenants out when the legal rent is below market rate for the apartment. If the legal rent is above market rate, though, then there's not much benefit to a turnover.
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