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No DHCR Rider

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

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No DHCR Rider

Postby Inquiring Tenant » Tue May 29, 2018 11:14 pm

Hi, my landlord ignored my request at lease signing for the required DHCR rider showing how the legal rent was calculated for my vacancy lease. I then obtained the DHCR records which show missing registrations in the prior year before the vacancy and this year, and show that the apartment was registered ( as rent stabilized) with a rent which is much less than my "preferential rent" or what the landlord is claiming as the "legal rent" on the lease in the last year the apartment was registered.

My rent is still substantially below the $2700 threshold, so it couldn't have possibly been de-stabilized during the registration gap. There have been no MCI improvements, so any increase must be based on the vacancy allowance and IAI improvements.

For the landlord to have increased the legal rent by that much in 1 year, even with the vacancy increase the landlord would have to be claiming over $20,000 in apartment improvements. Such a figure seems extremely implausible, especially given the failure to provide the required rider or register the apartment during this period. If the landlord actually somehow spent $20,000, why didn't he provide any proof?

The landlord appears to have done the work himself anyway, as it does not look like the work of a professional contractor. How would you all advise I proceed here? Is there any way I can force the landlord to provide the DHCR Rider as required by law showing how the rent was calculated so I can see if I have an overcharge case before filing one?

Or should I just immediately file an overcharge claim to allow DHCR to determine whether the increase was lawful? Or should I instead a complaint for the failure to provide a rider. Or would it be best to make some kind of formal demand that the landlord provide the required rider first before proceeding? Thanks.
Last edited by Inquiring Tenant on Wed May 30, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No DHCR Rider

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 30, 2018 2:51 am

I edited your post inserting paragrahs so people can read it.

The DHCR informational rider is supposed to be attached to every new and renewal RS lease. Supposedly on a complaint, if the LL fails to send one to the tenant, the DHCR can freeze the rent until compliance. I have never seen that happen. In my view it's meaningless on its own. Sure, toss it in if you're being taken to court. But I see no sense to file such a complaint on its own.

The options are on an overcharge:
1. Do nothing
2. File an overcharge with DHCR
3. Withhold rent and use overcharge as a defense when the LL takes a tenant to Housing Court.

Do you have written proof that you asked for the rider at lease signing? That would be a big help here.

However DHCR records make it pretty clear there are problems with the registrations. While DHCR can take years and is often anti-tenant, the courts are faster. But the courts can cost a lot if you have a lawyer, are very difficult to navigate on your own, and you could still get a bad judge.

You need to make an educated guess as to how litigious the LL is and the quality of lawyer they use. You can also get a legal consultation and then proceed on your own.

Are you sure there has been no MCI? Ask other tenants.

$20K IAI's are not that implausible depending on what the claim to have done. Were any IAI's actually done? Ask neighbors who might know what the place looked like with the last tenant.

But if the LL did the work himself (or by a relative or staff member), that could kick out any IAI. Work is supposed to be done by outside contractors and with invoices and checks proving payment. If the LL did it himself, then he's probably not that sophisticated. Get it to admit it up front before he realizes it can hurt him.

However you proceed, I would be less concerned about the lack of a rider up front. Make the allegations (DHCR) or defense (court) that the registration is bad, the old rent doesn't justify the increases, the IAI work doesn't exist (just say there were no improvements) and then it's the LL's burden to prove it. Yes, you should probably throw in the lack of a rider just to make sure the issue in on the table, but I wouldn't focus on that at first.
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Re: No DHCR Rider

Postby Inquiring Tenant » Wed May 30, 2018 10:17 am

Thanks for your answer. Well, I'm focused on the rider because without the rider and the claimed cost of the improvements I can't see if there is a case. Some improvements were definitely done, but the landlord definitely did not use a contractor, so is probably missing proof. Maybe I can just send a letter requesting the rider and proof of the IAI's so I can see if the landlord has the proof before filing a case of any kind.
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Re: No DHCR Rider

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 30, 2018 10:35 am

It's not your burden to prove the case. It's the LL's burden to justify the increases. That's the first thing you need to understand. I understand you want to know what he's claiming and how it was calculated, but seriously, that's the wrong approach in our opinion (feel free to consult with a tenant attorney on this).

Once you make the allegation about all the other stuff, and just also mention in passing that for the life of you, you can't see what improvements were actually done, then it's the LL's job to lay out the items and the costs. Perhaps you can catch him in a lie.

Of course, our ability to comment here is limited as we haven't seen the improvements - or even what actually was done.

Getting a rider is not proof of the improvements. It's one thing to ask for the rider, but if you ask the LL for proof of the IAI's, you will tip him off--not too smart.

Do some research on "NY DHCR apartment improvements arms-length relationship"

Here's one:
https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/a ... 27496.html

You can find many court decisions on the web, and you can also FOIL DHCR decisions from DHCR.
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Re: No DHCR Rider

Postby Inquiring Tenant » Wed May 30, 2018 10:44 am

Well, on the rider, there is a box to check off if you want proof of the improvements. Also, the new 2016 rider itself requires that the landlord show how the increase was calculated stating the amount of the IAI's and so on. But I hear you on the fact that it would tip him off to ask for the proof. I've scheduled a legal consultation for later this week.
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Re: No DHCR Rider

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 30, 2018 11:59 am

On a listserv for tenant lawyers, one person recently said,

"The enhanced info is on the rent stabilization rider. Much expanded in 2005 with far more details on the alleged "improvements." But if most landlords don't attach them then it doesn't matter much, especially since even those rare instances where DHCR checks it won't do anything.... Technically, under the amended RSC the failure to attach the rider results in a rent freeze unless the LL can prove the improvements. But that's technically...."

As far as I remember, since 1984 the rider has required LLs to provide the calculation of improvements. Nothing new.

Do some research on IAI and rider cases.
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