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RS Apt: roommate overcharge

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

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RS Apt: roommate overcharge

Postby tjohnny » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:01 pm


A roommate in an apt has been overcharged $25-$30 per month for rent/utilities/internet for about a year.

It became an overcharge when the roommate moved in and an estimation of what utilities/internet would be was greater than what it turned out to be.

Is that sufficient for the tenant to be evicted or forced to pay treble that amount?

If either is posssible, what do you suggest one do to set things right for past overcharge?

A reduction to equal payment has been made.
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Re: RS Apt: roommate overcharge

Postby TenantNet » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:16 pm

I assume this is rent stabilized.

You don't say if you are a co-tenant on the lease, or a roommate (who are generally not on the lease).

You also don't say who charges the utilities ... or to whom they are paid. Do you pay directly to the utility companies, or does the LL just give you a number and expect that to be paid on top of rent?

At first you're lumping rent, utilities and internet all together, but then you restrict it to just the latter two. So you need to figure out which it is, an "overcharge" for rent, or for utilities (you can lump internet in with phone, cable and gas/electric).

If it's rent, then how do you know? Have you seen the lease? Do you have a copy of the rent history from DHCR?

For RS apartments, tenants (on the lease) must not overcharge roommates (not on the lease) more than 50% of the rent being paid. But that is for rent only.

As for utilities, as far as I know the RS code does not address that in terms of an overcharge. The logical thing would be to split the charges up by the number of people in the unit. But there might be reasons to adjust that.

Roommates who are actually overcharged for rent may make complaints to DHCR. DHCR can award the complaining tenant the amount of overcharge, and possibly interest or treble damages. But understand that DHCR these days rarely applies the treble amount. If they do, it would be for a maximum of two years. Beyond that, interest kicks in. In very rare cases, tenants can be evicted, but that would be through the courts, not DHCR.

You provide little detail, but try to avoid DHCR or the courts. The best way to handle this is to negotiate a settlement. Do something that's fair to both sides.
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Re: RS Apt: roommate overcharge

Postby tjohnny » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:16 pm

Thanks much for the reply.
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Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:49 pm

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