TenantNet Forum

Where tenants can seek help and help others



LL hiding RS status - Advice appreciated

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

Moderator: TenantNet

LL hiding RS status - Advice appreciated

Postby nyc855 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:51 pm

Hi,

I have been living in an apartment for a year paying market rate. When I signed the lease, it was a standard 1 page double-sided nyc lease with no other riders. At lease renewal, LL offered me a renewal on an outdated (2004) rent-stabilized renewal lease. Being the first time I have heard about the apartment being rent-stabilized, I asked the LL and he admitted the apartment is stabilized and that my current rent is the legal rent. I inquired about rent history and he said he had it in his files and would need to look them up.

I went to the RS office and obtained the rent history and saw that the legal rent was much lower than what I am paying and furthermore, there is another tenant listed as living in the apartment for the same period that I have been. I asked the LL about the RS records and he said that the DHCR must have made a mistake, that he has made renovations to the apartment that brings the rent up to what I am paying now.

I have told the LL that I cannot sign the lease renewal he has offered me because it is not on the latest version of the renewal form that includes the rider showing the breakdown of the rent increase. The LL has not cashed my rent checks for 2 months (paying the same amount listed on my expired 1 year lease) and has not said anything to me about a new lease or the legal rent.

I am worried he will try to evict me for non-payment. Any advice on how to proceed from here?

Much appreciated.
nyc855
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:33 pm

Re: LL hiding RS status - Advice appreciated

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:37 pm

When you say the first renewal was on an outdated RS lease, what does that mean? Was the renewal on a DHCR RTP-8 form? See an example at http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/rtp8.pdf. That is the only legal RS renewal form. But even if it was on that form, the LL must still comply with all required yearly registrations, and all increases my be according to RGB increases.

If you haven't yet, get a rent history for the unit from DHCR. See http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/tenantresources.htm. You say you went to the "RS office" for the rent history. Was that DHCR?

Given what you describe, it seems likely the LL failed any number of legal requirements.

Seems very likely that the LL is lying about almost everything.

What about the renovations? Were they done according to what the LL said? Did he calculate the increases properly?

As for cashing checks, that is a different issue altogether. Make sure you keep paying some level of rent unless you decide to go on rent strike ... but that can be tricky and requires you keep copious documentation.

Seems like you will need to file a complaint. Some day DHCR is the place to file, but others say DHCR is pro-landlord, and suggest you contact a tenant attorney first. Some might suggest filing a case in Supreme Court. It's faster, but more expensive.

Whatever you do, do not "react" to what the LL does. Set up your own narrative.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 8739
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City

Re: LL hiding RS status - Advice appreciated

Postby nyc855 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:22 pm

Thanks for your prompt reply,

The lease renewal was not on an RTP-8 form, it was a one page, double sided, dated from 2004. My guess is that it is an older version of the RTP-8 form. It does not include options for 1 or 2 year renewals that the RTP-8 form does.

I did obtain the rent history and yes, I did mean DHCR = RS Office.

He has not done any renovations during my time in the apartment. He claims they were done prior to me moving in. He did not go into detail about what the renovations were. I know that the boiler was replaced with individual boilers in 2012 according to DOB permits I found for the building online. That was never recorded as an MCI on the rent history. Individual boilers were installed so that each tenant can pay for their own heat and hot water. Keep in mind I moved in 2017 so this predates me.

I am not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask this, but is there a list of tenant attorneys you can recommend me. Two that I have contacted (highly reviewed on yelp) wanted to charge me by the hour just to hear my case. Is that the norm?

Once again, much appreciated.
nyc855
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:33 pm

Re: LL hiding RS status - Advice appreciated

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:02 pm

If it wasn't on a RTP-8 form, it was not a legal renewal lease. However initial vacancy leases (not renewal leases) can be on any form to which the parties agree - although if RS, must contain certain provisions. And in all cases (both vacancy and renewal) must have the DHCR rider attached. You can identify the RTP from the small lettering on the bottom left.

If -as you say - it does not include options for renewals, then obviously, it's not a renewal form of any nature. ALL leases must contain basic terms, i.e., the names of both parties, identification of the premises, consideration (rent), and the terms (beginning and ending dates). If those are missing, then it's not a lease. That's just standard contract stuff.

Renovations prior to your moving in ... well in a challenge, he would have to identify what was done, when it was done and the cost ... and prove what he spent.

Boiler replacement should be a building-wide issue. Except you say individual boilers. If that means a heating unit in your apartment, well that could be illegal. See the Housing Maintenance Code regarding heating systems. Without special permission, all buildings must have central heating systems. http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/sub2/art8.html

But it seems odd that DOB would approve individual boilers per unit, if that is what you meant. So yes, a new boiler for the building would be a MCI, and if he didn't file for it, he has only 2 years to file for a MCI. If DHCR never approved a MCI, then it can't be added to the rent.

If for each unit, that would be an IAI, and probably not legal. You need more investigation on that.

Also, even if for individual units, if he did it for all units in the building, then in our view that would be a MCI, not a IAI, so without DHCR approval (in our view), that can't be added to the rent. Look at it this way, if a LL replaces all windows in a building, even though it's in each unit, it's still a MCI.

You would probably want to file an Administrative Determination (AD) case with DHCR as to the RS status of the unit. Normally the level of rent consideration can only go back 4 years, but the RS Status is not limited to 4 years. Even for the rent, on the basis of fraud, in some cases the courts will go beyond the 4 year statute of limitations.

As for tenant attorneys, there is no one list, but there are tenant attorneys that advertise on this site. I would shop around and see which of these have experience in your type of situation. Some even offer low cost of free initial consultations. Don't go with one that will promise you everything ... look for one that can give you an honest assessment of the situation and what it would take to correct it.

Also keep in mind that cases in front of DHCR do not require lawyers - if you have no experience having a lawyer doing the work or giving you advice can make a big difference. (it can also be expensive). And of course court cases are better off with lawyers.
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

Subscribe to our Twitter Feed @TenantNet
TenantNet
 
Posts: 8739
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New York City


Return to NYC Rent Regulated Apartments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: FAST Enterprise [Crawler] and 2 guests