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What is worth FOIL'ing for?

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

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What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby cheeseburger69 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:04 pm

I have a pending rent overcharge complaint which is in initial processing and about to have its third birthday. I have previously FOIL'ed for "any relevant documents associated" with my docket number. This request returned the full suite of documents for a previously filed overcharge complaint for the apartment.

Are there any other documents worth requesting in the meantime? I request the rent history annually already.
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Re: What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby TenantNet » Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:06 pm

You can FOIL a case file by using its docket number. Tell them you want that docket number and don't confuse it with the earlier docket.

You can use the DHCR FOIL form or write your own letter. They might ask to prove you are the tenant. I would ask for all documents in PDF format and sent to your email ... unless you know they exist on paper only. That might be true for cases being processed.

With FOIL, they often impose a fee of $0.25 per page. However, you can ask to "inspect" the case file in their office, and once their you can look at the file and select which documents to copy. I use to bring a laptop and portable scanner. More recently I took photos with my cel phone. There's an app called CamScanner.

If they claim the office is closed due to COVID, then ask for copies without any fee. I don't know if they would be cooperative.

For our cases, we usually FOIL about once per year to see any new documents the LL might have submitted.

There is also a progress sheet, that DHCR often withholds. If you want that, ask for it explicitly and state that you need the page to further prepare your case submissions. If they give you a hassle on that, let us know. We have a letter from DHCR's lawyer on that. But the clerks who prepare the FOIL responses are often not well trained.
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Re: What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby cheeseburger69 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:02 am

Thanks for the thorough reply. I will attempt for the progress sheet as well as my yearly FOIL for the case itself, which they've mailed to me in the past with no fee (about 40 pages).
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Re: What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:14 am

When I make a request, I usually phrase it as ... "I request XXX file/documents for purposes of inspection and/or copying..." But they might claim that personal inspection is not possible right now due to COVID.

I used to go to the borough office with a laptop and portable scanner. Later, I would use an app like CamScanner on my phone to take photos of each page. But take at least three photos of each as some are always out of focus.

If they give it to you w/o charge, then that's great.
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Re: What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby cheeseburger69 » Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:34 am

Just an update on this, my case was docketed in July 2018, so it's now over three years of "initial processing"
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Re: What is worth FOIL'ing for?

Postby TenantNet » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:40 am

Heck, I've seen DHCR cases go six years. Nothing new.

See this from the 1980's
http://tenant.net/Oversight/Bleak/bhtoc.html
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