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New owners not renewing lease -- short notice to leave?

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New owners not renewing lease -- short notice to leave?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:53 pm

Submitted by :- enro
Topic :- New owners not renewing my lease -- short notice

I received a call today from my building's new owners. They told me they are renovating all the "fair market" apartments in the building and they are NOT renewing my lease which is up in 2 weeks.

They gave me until the end of January to leave. Basically 5 weeks. They took over the property about 4 weeks ago. I've lived here 3 and a half years. Never any trouble, always on time with rent.

The lady kept apologizing for the short notice. I said I'd get back to her.

Is this legal? And if it is, is there anything I can do to fight it and stay longer? It would take at least 2 or 3 months for me to find anything in the city, but this is way too short notice.


It's probably legal. As an unregulated tenant, your only protection is the lease.

Have you checked with DHCR to see if the unit was formerly regulated, and the circumstances in which it was deregulated? Many, if not most, deregulated units were not done so legally. If the building was built prior to 1974 and has 6 or more units in it, then chances are the unit was regulated. You'll need a rent history from DHCR. The Grimm decision says DHCR should look past the 4 year statute of limitations if there's evidence of fraud. It's worth looking into. And, if there is some evidence there, you can file with DHCR. That should buy you some time.

If the unit is legally deregulated, then what you want is some time as eventually they will get you out.

You can also stay past the end of the lease, forcing the LL to commence a holdover proceeding in Housing Court. But you will need to be careful how you handle that as you will want to avoid the tenant blacklist. You should be able to get around that by not getting a final judgment, and negotiating some extra time.
Last edited by TenantNet on Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby enro » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:03 pm

Thanks for your response.

Since it's a new company that wants me out, does the fact that it may have been regulated mean anything? Apparently some of the units in this building may still be regulated.

What would you suggest I do if I just stay past the lease? Just tell the LL I need more time? Try to negotiate with them directly or wait for the LL to commence the holdover proceeding?

You say "You should be able to get around that by not getting a final judgment, and negotiating some extra time." Do you mean in court, or before we get to court?
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:18 pm

It does not matter if the LL is the old one or a new one.

If you stay past the end of the lease, understand they must give you 30 days written notice. So a notice from January 3 will be good on March 1st. A call from them does not suffice. See the info on month-to-month tenants in the Reference section of the forum.

If you pay rent and if they accept it, that's a M2M rent. OTOH, if you think they might not return the deposit, some tenants consider withholding the last month's rent, letting the deposit go for the last month's rent. The LL would likely claim that's improper. But in the end, if there are real damages, that should be covered by the deposit.

Also make sure you take many photos of the place and get to know your neighbors who might be staying. The reason is that if they do rehab the units, then any real damages could become moot. You will want to be able to document the before and after condition of the unit if the LL is claiming damages.

Consider that a new LL will likely want a reference, so don't do anything just yet that will tick off the current LL.
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Postby enro » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:34 pm

OK. Will check the other stuff.

Did you mean if they give me 30 days written notice say Jan 3rd that it would be good Feb 3rd?
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:50 pm

No, I said March 1. It's 30 days past the next rent due date.
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Postby enro » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:09 pm

Got it. Thanks.
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rent history

Postby enro » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:17 pm

Recap of my situation: I received a call a few days ago from my building's new owners. They told me they are renovating all the "fair market" apartments in the building and they are NOT renewing my lease which is up in 2 weeks. Thanks for the short notice.

They gave me until January 31 to leave. I'm trying to buy more time but the lady said we'll be there illegally if we choose to stay past our lease expiry.

Can anybody suggest any options for me? I just need some more time; 3 or 4 months. Not fighting to stay. Just more time.

Do I go to Housing Court and plead my case for more time or do I wait for the LL to initiate a Holdover Eviction first? So far it's only been over the phone, I haven't received anything in writing.

----

Here's the rent history for my apt from DHCR. I can't determine if my apt is regulated or not. They say it isn't, but I'm not so sure.

1984 - 1999 RC Rent Controlled

2000 - 2003 RS Rent Stabilized. At the same rent I'm paying now. For 2003 it says MCI, which I guess means they made an upgrade.

2004 - 2011, it says REG NOT FOUND FOR SUBJECT PREMISES.

Current rent is $1700, more or less the same as the last reported rent in 2003
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Postby NYHawk » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:11 pm

according to the DHCR info. the apartment is rent stabilized. immediately stop all communication with the landlord. quickly get advice from a good tenant attorney. see the ads below the "TenantNet" near the top of this page. hit refresh to see different ads.
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Postby TenantNet » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:26 pm

I agree with NYHawk. Get some good advice. While this site and this forum can give you general pointers, we can't hold your hand all throughout any proceeding.

First, decide if you want to stay if it's possible.

From what DHCR has told you, there is no record of deregulation. Many units are deregulated illegally by simply having the LL fail to register the unit. DHCR won't do anything to track this until a complaint is made.

There's no evidence of the rent going above $2,000, hence no high rent deregulation. There's no evidence of preferential rent, where the LL charges less than the legal rent (and having a preferential rent is an acknowledgment of the RS status).

As I said before. lay low. Do not talk to the LL. Don't let them know what you are up to. I would - at a minimum - get a consultation with a tenant attorney. As NYHawk said, there are a number of tenant attorneys who advertise on this site. Consultations are usually affordable. Pull all of your documents together. Make a timeline of everything that has happwned ... all letters, phone calls, emails, etc. Everything.

Filing with DHCR if the evidence supports it can buy time, either to pressure the LL to negotiate, or by precluding a holdover while DHCR is making a determination. If you want to stay, this is your best method.
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Postby enro » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:24 pm

Thanks NYHawk and TenantNet.

I'll speak to a tenant attorney and see what they advise.
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Postby enro » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:14 pm

The DHCR said I would have to file an overcharge complaint, but that's not what I'm after. Just the right to have more notice to leave. To be able to stay another 3 or 4 months.

Most attorneys I've spoken with want at least $700 to negotiate with the landlord. A few attorneys said negotiation with the landlord is the only option.

I haven't yet received anything in writing about my lease not being renewed, so maybe negotiating isn't wise at this point?

I'm only trying to buy more time, to stay here another 3 or 4 months. The landlord said that isn't possible because the workers that are currently renovating the other units can't wait until March or April, etc, making it unfeasible for them.

The rental history hasn't been reported since 2004. If it fell out of regulation this way, how can I find out for sure? Wouldn't the 4 year clause/rule be in the Landlord's favor here?
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:18 pm

First, the unit does not "fall out of regulation" by virtue of the LL's not submitting required registrations. Base on everything you've stated, in my opinion, it's still rent stabilized.

How much of an overcharge there might be, is a different question. There is a four-year statute of limitations, but in light of the recent Grimm decision, DHCR is supposed to look past the 4 years when there's evidence of fraud.

I understand you just want more time, but in many things in life, you have to argue point A in order to accomplish point B. Filing an overcharge complaint (or possible failure to provide a lease at the legal rent) is a way of asserting your legal rights. Whether you win or lose, you should be able to stop any holdover proceeding while the matter is pending (including appeals), and also you add pressure for the LL to negotiate with you.

That the LL wants to make it convenient for painters is irrelevant. And it's probably not true.

Yes, lawyers are expensive, but depending on what you are after, they might be cost effective in the long run. If you want 6-12 months, then having an attorney makes a lot of sense. If only 4 months, it might depend on how much rent you're paying, and you still have the option of filing with DHCR.
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Postby enro » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I'm meeting with an attorney soon to figure out the best course to take.

What's funny is today I got the most recent "rent receipt / next rent due" form letter from the new landlord. A new thing they initiated when they took over last month. It has my name, apt. number, etc. and today's date on it.

Still nothing in writing about what they discussed over the phone with me this week about not renewing.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:11 pm

Here's the funny thing about holdover cases. If they commence a holdover, usually (with RS units) they must give you a Notice to Cure and then a Termination of Lease, both before commencing the Holdover. However, from their point of view, you are not RS, and the lease would have ended. So those first two documents might not be required here, that is unless you claim you are RS. If you have filed with DHCR, then the defense to the court would be a) there is an active DHCR proceeding going on, and b) they did not give you a lease renewal and c) they did not follow some other procedures required in RS holdovers.

However, since you're meeting with a tenant attorney, you would be best to consider his/her advice. I'm a tenant, not a lawyer. They practice every day in Housing Court.

The next rent due, if you pay it, and if they accept it, would likely not matter in the long run as they have given you until the end of January, correct? It's the one that arrives in late January for the Feb. rent that you will need to watch.

I would be quiet with them on anything discussed on the phone for right now. As NYHawk said, "immediately stop all communication with the landlord."

As for the rent, unless you have a reason to withhold it, or are concerned about the security deposit, I would pay the rent. But I would discuss this with the lawyer with whom you will be consulting.
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Postby enro » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:53 pm

Yes, over the phone they said they'd consider giving me til the end of January. I do intend to keep paying the rent.

I hope the attorney can shed some light on whether I'm automatically placed on the Blacklist just for filing a complaint or inquiry.
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