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Month-to-month (actual) *lease,* HPD, rent increase woes

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Month-to-month (actual) *lease,* HPD, rent increase woes

Postby OSmaax » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:13 am

Hello, newbie here!

First, the basic info:
-My apartment is a 1br;
-I have lived here for 5+ years;
-Utilities (heat, hot water, electricity) are paid for by the LL;
-The LL is the owner of the entire building;
-Apartment is listed as a 3-unit dwelling (more on that later) and was once single-family;
-My lease was month-to-month when I signed 5+ years ago;
-I have not signed any lease/paperwork since then;
-I owe no back rent

The situation:

1) I asked to sign a 1 or 2-year lease, especially since my girlfriend is moving in with me; LL replies no, month-to-month leases only;

2) I told my LL I would like to add my girlfriend to the lease; first the LL agreed, then said it isn't necessary for my girlfriend to sign;

3) LL left a notice that rent will increase $250 in May (around when I said my girlfriend would be moving);

4) I did some digging, and LL is not registered with the HPD - not for 2015 or 2016 - and has an active case as a defendant against the gas company (the gas co has turned off the gas at least once, and marshals came another time - allegedly this is all a holdover from the previous owner, though a few years ago a guy from the gas company claimed that the LL is part of some kind of program that assists with gas in the winter);

5) On the HPD site, the previous owner is still listed as the current owner;

6) There are definitely more than 3 units in this building.


-Considering the fact that the LL has failed to register with HPD, has at least one open litigation, and may be participating in a government assistance program re: building maintenance, do I have any way of arguing either a) against the rent hike; b) for a year-long lease; or c) both?

-If the building really does have more than 3 units, possibly even the required 6, is it feasible for me to try and push for rent regulation? Is this insanely hard to prove, and can it get me kicked out in the process because of my month-to-month status? What would I need, documentation-wise, to prove it?

-Does it mean anything that the HPD site incorrectly lists the owner of the building?

-*IF* any of the above is to my benefit, what might be the best way for me to go forward?

Thank you!!
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Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Month-to-month (actual) *lease,* HPD, rent increase woes

Postby TenantNet » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:54 am

First, your post borders on being way too long. The longer and less concise it is, the less likely there might be a response. Just FYI.

You say you're in a 1BR unit in a 3-unit bldg, non-regulated. Have you gotten the rent history from DHCR? Chances are - with 3 units - it was never regulated in the first place, but there are exceptions. Worth a try.

How many units? If 6+, then there's a chance it might be regulated. If not six, see if it's part of a "Horizontal Multiple Dwelling" where it shares a boiler with any adjacent buildings. If that exists, then you can add all units from all bldgs.

Were any units added at any point? Were any two or more units combined at any point? That might impact the number of units for DHCR purposes. You need to research the life of the building.

Second, check with HPD to see if the bldg is registered with them. Required for bldgs with 3+ units, and for those with fewer units if the LL is not in residence. Not being registered with HPD might help you if the LL takes you to court, but not much else.

Seems LL wants only M2M leases. That's legal and LL is not required to offer a real lease. Again, assuming you are non-regulated, lease protections aren't all that much. As you've found out, LL can increase the rent with sufficient notice. But you can have the GF move in.

The gas program is irrelevant. Other open litigation is probably irrelevant.

Not being registered with DHCR might help in a court case, but won't help to stop a rent increase or guarantee you a lease.

I would do research on the number of units and the building history quietly. Do not let the LL know until you have proof. At a certain point I would consult with a tenant attorney.
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