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Landlord turnover, new lease and retroactive increase

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Landlord turnover, new lease and retroactive increase

Postby Nativenyer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:30 pm

After six years of living in our apartment, our former landlord (who had owned several units in our co-op building) sold our apartment to a new landlord in june 2011. This new landlord never came to assess our apartment.

We have some minor problems that needed fixing; mostly cosmetic with the exception of a leaking faucet and broken smoke detector. We asked our last landlord to fix these but consequently it was the same time he was selling so it never happened.

Our lease was up in August 2011 but we didn't receive a new one. Our new landlord continued to send us monthly invoices at the same rate so we just figured he was taking a while to send us a lease. We continued to pay our invoiced amount on time every month.

This January, our landlord contacted us and told us he was increasing rents 5% across the board. We said that was no problem but would like to have the items that needed fixing fixed first. After a few weeks his contractor came to assess the problems. Then after another few weeks, he informed us he got approval from the board to fix our apartment. He then said he would fix them and raise our rent the 5% but the increase would be retroactive to the date of August when we would have signed a new lease.

We told him that we didn't agree to this since he just mentioned the raise in January and invoiced us the old amount each month which we paid. We told him we would agree to pay the increase retroactively as of January which is when he told us about it for the first time.

Can anyone tell me if the landlord has a legal right to ask for a retroactive increase after 7 months, especially when he invoiced us the old amount each month? Also, when he told us it would be retroactive, he said he would understand if we needed to relocate which we feel was a passive aggressive "retaliatory eviction" threat.

Any help in regards to our rights, would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby TenantNet » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:39 pm

Being unregulated, your lease is controlling in all questions unless prohibited by law. If the lease expired, you will be month to month and the provisions of the lease still control until changed with written 30 days notice.

The LL can raise the rent but he must make repairs. See if the lease allows for retroactive increases. I don't think it will.

If it were me, I would wait until Thursday (March 1) before telling him to give you 30 days notice. That way the increase could not go into effect until May 1. OTOH, giving him until January is a gift on your part, and a negotiation position.

I would fight for that, but remember, he can also end the lease altogether. This seems to call for negotiation. Perhaps he's willing to give you a two-year lease in exchange for going back to January. I would make him do more if he really fights for August. Just be careful that you don't paint yourself into a corner.
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Postby Nativenyer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:39 pm

To be clear, you are saying that since we are considered month to month now, we can ask him to give us a new lease but by law, he has to do it in writing and with 30 days of notice. And if our old lease doesn't allow for retroactive increase (I just read it and it doesn't mention that whatsoever) then he cannot charge us the increase as of last August? What is the law about him giving us a retroactive lease, increase or not? Can we ask for a new lease starting January?


We thought we were being reasonable agreeing to an increase as of January since he can tell us he isn't renewing at all, that was why we offered that.

Thank you for your help. Really we just want to know if he can legally charge us retroactive rent increase if he never billed us at an increase. As a matter of fact, we received our march bill last week and there is no increase in that invoice.
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Postby TenantNet » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:40 pm

To be clear, you are saying that since we are considered month to month now, we can ask him to give us a new lease but by law, he has to do it in writing and with 30 days of notice.


Not really. Unless the old lease provides for automatic renewal, you do not have the right to a new lease. But once the old lease expired, you became a month-to-month tenant. That's essentially a series of one-month leases. But to change the terms of the lease, either a new one-month lease, or yearly leases, there must be 30 days notice.

He can't charge you retroactively, but anything is open for negotiation.

You don't need a retroactive lease. You've been on a M2M lease since last August. And no, he can't demand retroactive rent increases.

You can ask for a new lease at any time, but the LL is not under any obligation to give you a new lease. So that's what I mean by not demanding too much. He could just tell you to get out.

The point is that you do have some negotiating leverage, but so does the LL.
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Postby Nativenyer » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:22 pm

Thank you for your help. I'll Be sure to post the outcome.
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Postby ronin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:09 am

I kind of disagree with Tenant here.

The fact that the LL is saying he wants an increase retroactive kind of clouds the minds of those of us versed in rent regulations.

Since your apartment is unregulated he can kick you out on 30-days notice. If he is offering a lease retroactive to August, you are not obligated to pay for those past months. HOWEVER, if you want a lease from August to next August, you have to accept his terms and pay the retroactive increase of 5% (quite reasonable for a non-reg apartment btw- less of an increase than on stabilized units!!).

Think of it like this. You are actually not paying retroactive at all as you could say no way and move out. You are paying a new 8 month lease with increases of 4 months at 10% and 4 months at 5%. It's the same thing just stated differently.

IMHO- the LL is treating you almost like you are regulated. He will probably offer a reasonable increase in the future. Maybe in the long run, in a non-regulated apartment you might want to handle this LL with a soft touch. See if you can negotiate these months, or not, and then look forward to a possible 5% increase next August realizing that most non-regulated LL's like to increase by 20 or 30% and push you out to grab the next guy willing to pay twice that... (see guy in other post paying $3500 for a $2500 apartment). It's non-regulated if you want to play hard you'll have to be prepared to move at any time.

(In the pro-wrestling world of unregulated apartments I envision tenants moving out and then coming back and trash talking a greedy LL: "That's right, you still didn't rent it out yet you creep. We're paying less and now have a terrace and a pool you loser!" But then some clown willing to pay $3500 for a $2500 apartment rents the place and... sigh).
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Postby TenantNet » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:40 am

Ronin, you didn't disagree. You said the same thing a different way.
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Postby Nativenyer » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:57 am

Thank you again for your help. Turns out my LL accepted our offer to increase from January, which is when we opened up the dialog. Not only that, but he gave us a new lease beginning in January instead of last August so we got 4 extra months out of it.

We were very reasonable, as was he, and we are all very happy. He is also resolving all of the outstanding fixes that need to take place.

All in all, a happy ending!!!
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Postby ronin » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:18 am

TenantNet
:
Ronin, you didn't disagree. You said the same thing a different way.


Ok, ok. I reread the thread Tenant. You've got a point there. :P
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