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Court Remitting back to DHCR

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

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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby Queensrules » Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:28 pm

No Updates, but some history for others who may be in similar situations, a short story.

Why My Landlord is Corrupt

In August 2011, when my son went off to college, I downsized to a smaller apartment (& he still had his father’s apt available). I looked at the apartment, the rent was lower, it was smaller, it had no renovations to speak of: it seemed like a diamond in the rough pre-war.

The landlord’s agent showed me the apt. I asked if it was rent stabilized, it Was old and musty. She said, “Yes it is”. I agreed to take it on the spot. I had great light, lots of windows. She seemed confounded, obviously she either thought I looked too posh to live there (in my office clothes), or she thought the apt was a dump, it kinda was… but I saw great possibilities.

She told me to come to LL’s office with a certified bank check for one month rent, and one month security. I did.

However, after I handed over the bank check made out to the LL’s company, she Then handed me a “Month to Month Rental Agreement”. (Wth?). I said, this is not a lease. I intend to stay for years. I would like a 1 or 2 year lease.”

“Sorry”, she said. “This is what we are offering.”

I then distinctly remember saying, “What is this, a flophouse? I have never had a month-to-month lease in 40 years of being a renter.”

“If you do not want it, let me know.”

Well, she had already handed over my certified check, made out to LL, to someone else to process…I had movers lined up in 2 days…my former apt was rented & new tenants lined up.  

I very begrudgingly agreed to take the apartment. I felt trapped and uneasy. And, it felt sleazy.

That was a scam process. Period.

Three years later, in 2014, I dropped my rent off at LL’s office and simply/nicely asked for a 1-2 year lease. I would soon be retiring from my job, and I wanted the security of a yearly lease. Nasty receptionist said they cannot do that. I asked why and got no answer.

Mysteriously, every May I would receive a new “month-to- month Rental Agreement” in the mail, with varying percentage increases. The cover letter asked that I sign it and return it before my old one expired at the beginning of August. I would sign, and return it promptly.

The fact is, no year/date was mentioned in those “Month-to-Month Rental Agreements”. For years. It simply stated there was an increased rent & deposit amount due and stated: “This is NOT (bold type) a lease nor is it a part of any lease.” A place to sign and date at the bottom.

I became suspicious once my simple request for a lease was denied. I wrote a letter to DHCR.  

Then I started my own investigation into what my rights are as a tenant. I discovered the apt still listed as rent stabilized somewhere in the annals of city housing records available online.

DHCR requested lease records from LL and it began. My case has gone on for 7 years.

I had two victories by Order of DHCR, by 2 DHCR diligent employees, a Rent Administrator & the Deputy Commissioner, who both saw through LL’s scheme/errors-depending on how you roll the dice. I say scheme.

LL had not deregulated the apt properly. LL did not offer the first tenants a 1-2 year lease, after having Supposedly reached a $2,000 threshold and deregulation status. Which is the LAW in NYS. The LL had offered those first (deregulated) tenants a “month to month Rental Agreement”. Just like mine. 

As I researched city records, I found that LL had continued J51 tax-reduction status for my bldg while I lived there, or at least for 19 out of 20 stabilized apts. Checking yearly tax records and other documents, I could see what he was doing: slowly deregulating apts in the bldg, about 1/2 of them by now. [Aside from having (likely) undocumented/underpaid Polish workers come in and ravage the pre-war beauty sought after by many NYers, and creating sterile box-like apts, they most likely overcharged for labor, imho.]

I realized why so many of my neighbors were newly-arrived eastern Europeans, who moved in, stayed generally for 6 months, and moved out. I began to imagine a possible scheme by LL to keep having a reason to raise the rent until it reached deregulation point. These tenants had no idea about their rights, month to month Rental Agreements, leases, etc. Many barely spoke English. All were desperate for affordable housing.

So, here we are 7 years later. After my first victory, LL got his lawyers on the case and challenged the DHCR Order decision (in my favor) w/a PAR.

DHCR then Denied the PAR. Finding the Rent Administrator’s decision to be correct. No 1-2 year lease was issued.

LL then filed an Article 78 w/Queens Supreme Court. LL is fighting tooth and nail, because he knows this is a possible pivotal moment in what most likely is an illegal deregulation scheme he has used in many bldgs he owns or manages, for many years.

I could not afford an attorney, but had a consultation with one whom I think is the best. The firm decided they could not take my case because I could not afford a big downpayment and who knew how long it could go on. Luckily, I had shorthand and took notes as fast as I could during that one-hour consultation. It helped a lot.

Anyway, the day in court, I was tracking the docket, the case was “settled”. The PAR was remanded back to DHCR. Apparently, DHCR’s attorneys and the LL’s attorney came to a settlement in court. Two months later, I still have not been notified as to what that settlement is—the case was removed from the court docket. 

Seven years later… I hope this story is helpful to others as to what you are potentially facing. This is a crooked LL. Thing is, he has hyped himself up in the neighborhood to look like the guy who is giving affordable apartments to new immigrants. No. He is using immigrants for short-term stays in order to raise rent faster so he can deregulate apts.

This is why I hope that NYS-DHCR continues to have good sense and see through this LL’s pattern of deceit.
Queensrules
 
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Mon Sep 27, 2021 10:46 pm

As this is an A78, the records are still there. I don't know about Queens Supreme Court, but in Manhattan you can go to the clerk's office (or file room - not sure what it is called) and ask to see the entire court file. So get your vaccine and mask and go over to the QSC and did up the case file.

You should also be able to FOIL the entire A78 file from DHCR Legal (which might be in Manhattan). Ask to see everything. As the A78 is over, there should be no problem with letting you see everything. However, understand that DHCR is known for not complying with FOIL laws.

You can also FOIL the previous DRO and PAR cases with DHCR and the new remand. However the remand file might not have much info in it as it's still new.
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby Queensrules » Sat Oct 02, 2021 11:55 am

Thanks. I called. No transcript is available, as the Supreme Court appearance was withdrawn. Apparently, an “off record” discussion before the scheduled court appearance resulted in a Stipulation of Settlement to remand back to DHCR for “further proceedings and a new determination.”

Waiting.
Queensrules
 
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:45 pm

I didn't say transcript; I said records. The case was not withdrawn ... the judge issued an order.
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby Queensrules » Sun Oct 03, 2021 12:53 pm

I have all of the records/documents. Nothing new. But, the person in transcripts said the judge was Not in court the day that the Stipulation was signed or the day of tge court hearing. What’s with that.
Queensrules
 
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:29 pm

I don't know if there are transcripts for SC cases (and if so, maybe not all appearances). Housing Court has recorded audio, which you can request a copy. From there you would have to pay for a certified transcription.
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby Queensrules » Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:53 am

I would like to speculate as to how long the issuance of orders by DHCR, and response/objection by a LL PARs go on?

Or, will the new (assuming revised) determination/order to be issued by DHCR, be the end. What are the possibilities: am I facing a final decision that cannot be challenged by anyone?

1. A revised determination in response to LL’s existing PAR is issued - allowing the PAR instead of denying it?
a. I could then file an Article 78?

2. OR, a completely new order issued, and in turn, it is opposed by PAR as well?
a. The new PAR could still be denied?
b. How many PAR’s can be issued/denied?

I can see how deregulation of affordable apartments in NYC has led to our immense homeless problem, with the illegal raising of rents by sheister landlords, and how far they will go legally in order to bully tenants, and DHCR as well.
Queensrules
 
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Re: Court Remitting back to DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Mon Oct 04, 2021 11:36 am

A remand is at the PAR level (i.e., a Commissioner's order). So once that is issued, it may be appealed by an A78 in Supreme Court. When that happens, I recommend you file the A78 (if you lose) or intervene in the LL's A78 (if you win), and I recommend you get an attorney.
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