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Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Problem

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

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Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Problem

Postby Andrew228 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:26 pm

Hi. I've had a rent stabilized apartment in a non-eviction co-op since 1979. The building was converted through a non-eviction plan.

A questionable person bought our unit in February and has harassed us ever since. Among other things, his attorney sent a letter saying he bought the apartment planning to move in. We said no. He then sent an e-mail saying he would be open to selling the apartment to us. We said no.

Now it is 90 days before our lease expires. He has e-mailed us he is not going to renew our lease, we are to leave by October 31, and he is moving in.

Now, I know all of this is not legal. But what do i do?

He also takes forever to cash rent checks, often saying he does not receive them. Our only contact for him is a hotmail account, and a cell phone number. Our rent is mailed to a UPS Post Box rental place in a far away state.

What do we do? Ignore him? Tell him he's wrong? I can't imagine we need an attorney because the law clearly states an owner may not move into an apartment that a tenant was living in when the building was converted to a co-op in a non-eviction conversion.

Also, I think I read somewhere we can request an invoice from him for the monthly rent? He has never sent any invoices since he bought the apartment, even though we had gotten invoices for 38 years prior to his purchase of the apartment.

I would also like to file a harassment case against him. He has threatened us with 3-day eviction when he claims he has not received the rent. He has questioned information we have sent him, and even claimed he is going to file a suit for us harassing him!

Do I even need to see an attorney or respond to this? I assume I should keep sending the rent, as always. I do have proof the rent is up to date through July 31. He definitely should have received the August rent check but he has not cashed it.

A last thing, my domestic partner and I are both over 62 and one of us is disabled.

Thanks for any and all answers. If anyone suggests I do need to see legal help I'd appreciate finding out where we should go.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:05 pm

You're correct that RS tenants who live in units when a building undergoes a coop conversion subject to a non-eviction plan retain all benefits of rent stabilization, including the right to lease renewal.

First, I would start documenting anything and everything, including anything you receive by mail, email or by phone, or what you send. Keep all envelopes as they have postmarks. I would record any phone calls with the LL or his representatives. That is legal to do. You do not need to tell them you are recording the conversations. Carry a smartphone and record any in person conversations as well. Maintain a diary.

For all rent and letters, send by certified mail RRR - or at a minimum using a Certificate of Mailing. The latter shows you mailed something. Cert. Mail RRR shows receipt.

You might not need an attorney right away, but consider consulting with one. An attorney can always send a cease and desist letter to the LL or the LL's attorney.

You can file a harassment complaint with DHCR. But don't expect much from DHCR. At most, it would be a shot over-the-bow letting the LL know you mean business. There are ways to also file harassment complaints in court.

As for moving out, don't. Don't even think about that. I would bone up on illegal evictions. If the LL threatens anything, I would contact the local police, but I would speak with the precinct captain, not the patrolman in the street. The higher ups should know about illegal evictions and the lower rants are pro-landlord, and unfortunately, dumb when it comes to these issues.

As for not getting a lease, well that's been discussed many times on this forum. If you don't get a lease, then the rent doesn't go up. Do not pay any rent increases without a new lease, signed and executed by the LL. if and when the LL does offer a lease renewal, make sure it is on an official DHCR RTP-8 form, and read the instructions on the reverse. http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/rtp8.pdf

As for not cashing rent checks, don't worry. What matters is that you sent the checks and with certificates of mailing, you can show you sent them.

Does the lease not have a physical address for the LL? Or, you can check the ACRIS system, the NYC Dept of Finance where you can look at the property deed online.

The law does not require an invoice, but does require a receipt if you ask for one. So ask for one.

There is no such thing as a "3-day eviction." You're thinking of a 3-day rent demand. If the rent is not paid after such demand, the LL may commence a non-payment proceeding in NYC Housing Court.

You can, if you wish, send a detailed letter itemizing the dates and time of all of his actions and non actions, and if does not follow the law, you can and will file a harassment claim. But don't bite to his trolling or get into a tit & tat with him. That does nothing.

As for tenant attorneys, a number advertise on this site. Some will give you a consultation at a lower cost.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:36 am

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and for all the information. I have tried to stay pretty up to date on my rights as a tenant. You asked about a physical address for the LL. We have never gotten one. The LL before our new landlord issued our current lease. We were mailed a short letter from the past LL that they had sold the apartment to a person, and we were given a PO Box to send our rent to (In another state), an email address, and a phone number for the new owner. We've never received anything with an actual address for the new LL.

Also, the notice to us of the sale was mailed from an attorney's office, signed by our old LL. When I inquired, my old LL said he did not know the attorney whose name was the return address on the letter the old LL mailed. I feel certain the Attorney who mailed this letter is at the very least the co-owner of my apartment. Some records I have researched say that the apartment belongs to the new LL, c/o the Attorney who mailed the letter. Did that make sense?

I don't think I mentioned -- about 4 years ago, the managing agent for our building dropped our apartment and we are managed by whoever owns the apartment, I guess. Wh have not had a super in 4 years, and have dealt with past owners for any repairs over the past four years. We've had 3 owners in 4 years, and 2 did not have NYC addresses.

Thanks for your help; you are very kind.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:21 am

I forgot to mention, you should get a copy of the Black Book for the building - the coop conversion plan. If you don't already have it, and if you can't get it from the building, the NYS Attorney General's office should have a copy.

You can always ask the new LL for an address. It should also be on file with the NYS Dept. of Finance. https://a836-acris.nyc.gov/CP/

I'm not sure how HPD handles coops and individual owners, but you can check the HPD database: https://hpdonline.hpdnyc.org/HPDonline/ ... dress.aspx
I believe a super is required for the building. See HPD regs and/or call 311. I don't think being a coop allows them to get away with that.

The old LL doesn't know the name of the atty he used? That's a load of crap. But probably immaterial.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:28 am

Thanks again. Sorry for delay to thank you.

I have a copy of the original Black Book. It is a Non-Eviction Co-op Conversion Plan and clearly states that no one can buy a unit and use the unit for their own personal use.

I know from looking at the ACRIS that there are two owners of the apartment -- the LL we send the rent to, and for whom we have no physical address and an attorney, who we do have a physical address for. Most forms list the owner as the LL, c/o the attorney, even though we have only been instructed to send rent to the LL. We have not been given the attorneys name. However, we have been asked to contact an attorney who works for the attorney whose name is on the lease. (We were asked to hand deliver rent checks to him, because LL was claiming he did not get the checks.)

After doing more research, I have also found that even if a landlord does want to legally move into a rent stabilized apartment, and it is legal, the LL must provide a similar apartment to the tenant at the same or lower cost in the same general geographic area, if the tenant is over 62 and/or disabled,.

It all seems like and open and shut decision to me. I resent having to get an attorney when what the landlord is doing is so flagrantly against the laws. I am consulting with attorneys on Monday and Tuesday.

In the new LL's communications with us, he always refers to as as the "sub-tenants" -- his attorney claims that is the situation in a co-op building. I don't think that is the case?

Is it wise to file the HPD form of Landlord Refuses to Renew Lease form?

I also want to start a harassment case against this LL. Is it better to get that started before our current lease expires or after?

Also, I asked the previous landlord who sold this unti to the new landlord if he sold him a rent-stabilized unit,, and he replied that he had sold the unit with the lease that he had furnished us (not specifying it was a rent stabilized apartment).

Am I being naive to think that I don't need to ask for very much help with this situation? I don't know what happens come the end of the lease, when the LL says he wants us out and plans to move in. I assume he'll file some court action?

Thanks again for any input.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:20 am

You don't have to hand deliver checks. That's BS. Actually it's better to mail the checks, either with Certified Mail RRR, or Certificate of Mailing. The latter is cheaper. Both will prove you sent the check, while Cert Mail proves receipt.

It seems the LL is either harassing you, being stupid, or both. Either way, what they are doing impacts you. You can send them cert mail telling them to stop this behavior, or you can have a lawyer do it. A letter from an attorney, while it will cost you some money, will get their attention.

When you consult with an attorney, make sure it is a tenant attorney who has experience in this particular issue.

The subtenants reference is technically correct. The "owner" of the co-op unit is technically the tenant of the co-op corporation, making you the subtenant. Don't get hung up on that.

If you file, it would be with DHCR, not HPD. See what the attorney advises. For any action, see what the attorney advises.

The problem with DHCR is that they can take years, and are often pro-landlord. OTOH, when I filed with DHCR, they did rule in my favor.

The original lease your old LL gave to you should be a RS lease. Dig out your copy and see what it says. All renewals need to be on DHCR Form RTP-8 which clearly indicate it's a RS unit. See http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/rtp8.pdf

If not on that form, you can demand they send you one on that form.

BTW, your RS status is based on the law, not the lease. If the unit qualifies for RS status, then it is - no matter what the lease says, or not.

Being RS, if you don't get a lease at the end of your term, then just keep paying the old rent, not the new rent. If he takes you to court, then you will have your defenses - failure to provide a renewal.

BTW, a LL refusing to renew a lease - is quite common. Don't lose too much sleep over it. OTOH, if he's taking physical actions to get you out, then make sure you have an attorney and call the police.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:12 am

Sorry for these delayed replies, but I am following your advice.

Met with the NY Bar Association Attorney on Money, and she said there is no case here. To just relax and don't worry at this point.

I am in a domestic parntership, and the Landlords have taken rent payments from a joint checking account for about 30 years. The Current Landlord has cashed checks from this joint cehcking account up until July 2018. We mailed him the August 2018 rent and he has not cashed it. When we enquired he responded that he was not comfortable accepting the payment from a joint chacking account and the the domestic partner was trying to establish some sort of rights to living in the apartment. Duh.

So as of 8/16/2018 the August rent check has been cashed. The attorney we met wil said we have no reason to worry about this man who is writing these harassment letters. He has cone from having his attorney send a not that he wants to move into the apartment for personal use, to sending us a letter that he is open to a buyout from us, to a notice that he is voing to evict us at the end of our current lease and move himself and/or family members into the apartment on Novermber 1st.

We will send future rent checks return receipt requested. He can't demand a new form of payent after 30 years precedent of using the payment method we are using,and that he himself has accepted, can he?

I feel we have no concerns, but this landlord is using a rent specialized attorney who surely knows the law and is allowing him to send us these illegal messages. I am reading all of your replies and how you don't feel I am not following what you say. I just really resent spending any money on what seems to be a clean cut case of landlord harassment, and his non-compliance with Rent Stabilization laws.

I definitely want to file a harassment claim because he has destroyed our peaco of mind for six months now. Is it best to being this after we get the renwal lease straightened out?

Sorry if any of this is repetitious. I am being driven a bit crazy by this and it has impacted my live for months now.

Thanks for your help.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:07 pm

Not to disparage them, but attys that do the cheap consultations for the NYC Bar Association are usually not tenant attorneys. If this thing escalates, I'd look for a lawyer that specializes in LL/Tenant practice and one that reps tenants only. Even so, the Bar consultation might have given you correct information.

Of course, try not to provoke the LL into escalating things, but at the same time you need to protect your rights.

As I said before, without a lease your rent does not go up, so until they haul you into court, it's not a big thing (and enjoy the lower rent).

If the LL makes moves that he might try to evict you without a court order, I'd get to know the local police captain. The street cops don't know about illegal evictions and are often pro-landlord. But the higher up you go with the NYPD, it gets a bit better.

I cannot quote chapter and verse on on the rights of domestic partners, but there is plenty of case law on this issue. And you can establish succession rights for the partner. If you are married, the spouse has the right to be on the lease. As of 2006, DHCR was not allowing domestic partners to have lease rights, but laws change over time.

As for accepting rent, it seems to me the old LL waived any objection to your joint account. Of course LLs like to litigate issues like that. You don't have to send by Certified Mail forever, but I would do so now while things are contentious, and then later you can switch to Certificate of Mailing (only $1.40).

To get you out the LL would have to bring a case against you in court. And in that process, I'm pretty certain the LL would have to serve a Golub Notice (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5388) -- basically a notice of non-renewal, but must be done within a defined window period. That's has probably passed, so they would have to wait, at a minimum for the next lease cycle (1 or 2 years) and resend the notice. Then other issues come into play.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:48 pm

This certainly sounds like a situation where a brief letter from a lawyer would be appropriate, just to put things on the record. Something to the effect of:

A. The building went co-op as part of a non-eviction plan, and, as the original tenants at the time of the conversion, the owner occupancy removal provisions that affect most rent-stabilized tenants don't apply to the OP.
B. The OP plans to remain in the apartment for the foreseeable future, and is not interested in purchasing the apartment. Should either of these circumstances change, the OP will certainly inform the landlord. Hence, any further communication from the landlord regarding moving into the apartment or having the OP buy the landlord out is inappropriate and unnecessary, and should cease.

I wonder if this new owner didn't do due diligence when he bought the place, and thought he'd be able to actually move in. If so, he's got a claim against whoever represented him in the purchase for doing a terrible job representing him, but that's not the OP's problem. He could instead have known exactly what he was getting, but hoped he could steamroll the OP, in spite of the law. Don't let him.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:39 pm

Thanks again to TenantsNet, and thanks BubbaJoe.

An update. Before I got back to reading this, I had already done almost exactly what BubbaJoe suggested. I found an attorney to write a fairly short, succinct letter to the Landlord that he can not take over our apartment for personal use since it was part of a non-eviction plan. He also said he had to accept our rent checks from the joint account, since we are registered as domestic partners and use a joint checking account. The letter was just sent 2 days ago; I doubt the new landlord has received it yet. I am just mailing rent as normal since I see no need to pay extra, as I have the bank record of the rent being sent (I use electronic banking, except for 3 occasions a sent physical checks to this new LL). I've read so much about this and with my attorney help, I can't imagine not keeping our apartment rights, unless the Housing Court is rigged in some cases. I do not know that it is not. If it is fair the law is very clear we can't be evicted. Hope none of this is naive.

Bubba, I do think the LL has no idea what the NYC Rent Stabilization Laws are. I met his attorney once and he seemed to know the law and (surprisingly) told me off the record he had told this new landlord he'd never get us out.

If I read correctly it would be crazy for the Landlord to take us to court. He is responsible for our attorney fees if he loses, and as I said he'd lose for sure unless the Housing Court is rigged. I'd hire the best attorney I could, feeling so certain he'd lose if we went to Court.

Thanks again for all the help, and I'll keep checking back in. Any more input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:33 am

Still having some issues, with the lease expiring at the end of October. I have one question I can't find an answer to. I was told owners of NYC Apartments must live in New York. Does anyone know if this is true? Thank you.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:57 am

I've not heard that owners must live in NYC, and it's probably not true.

Lease expires? You're still RS. You can let it go or file with DHCR. But DHCR could take five years. So unless you have a real good reason, I would not do anything, but of course continue to pay the old rent. Without a lease, the rent does not go up.

FYI, my landlord refuses to give me a lease. I think the last one was in 2014. I'm still paying the old rent and they know they would have to take me to housing court, where they would lose. So I know exactly what you're going through.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:38 am

Andrew228 wrote:Still having some issues, with the lease expiring at the end of October. I have one question I can't find an answer to. I was told owners of NYC Apartments must live in New York. Does anyone know if this is true? Thank you.


I've never seen or heard anything to support the idea that NYC apartment owners must live in NY or NYC. I can't say with 100% certainty that there isn't some requirement that they do, but if there is, it's never been enforced to my knowledge.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby Andrew228 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:07 pm

Thank you. First to the Tenant Net reply -- the LL returned our August 2018 rent. Although it was paid from a joint checking account, it was sent by the bank and only had one name on the check (the person not on the lease). Per my attorney I sent him the September 2018 check at the same time as the replacement August rent with both of our names on the check. These 2 checks were signed for as having been delivered to his address on September 1, but the checks have not been cashed as of September 13, I'm feeling fairly secure with the advice I've gotten here, and from my minimal contact with my attorney who sent him a cease and desist letter.

TenantNet -- Our lease went about 8 years without being renewed in the 1990s, but that was because the owner had lost track of the paperwork, and it was never a problem. They just started the leases again when they realized the problem. I feel sure this new LL is going to try to pull something on November 1 when our lease expires, but have no idea what or how.

I have a wealthy friend who was able to fight a protracted battle with a landlord trying to evict his mother and his brother from a rent stabilized apartment. It was a lengthy battle, but my friend's mother and brother got TWo new apartments at their old rent (and the apartments were rent stabilized), as well as a 7 figure payout (part of which may have been recovering attorney fees). In the course of his trial he said he found out that New York owners must live in New York -- that is why I asked that question. I have not seen it written anywhere.

To Tenant Net -- you say it may take 5 years for a case to begin after filing with the DCHR. Is that also true if the LL begins the eviction request?

One last thing for now -- is it of any use to submit the form the city provides that is called "Landlord Refuses to Renew Lease" or should I just let that go?

Thanks TenantNet and Bubba and anyone else.
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Re: Rent stabilized in Non-eviction Co-op -- New Owner Probl

Postby TenantNet » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:21 pm

He can't do anything (legally) without going to court. You have a right to a renewal, he must plead your RS status. You've tendered the rent and he refused it. All grounds to dismiss any suit. Just be sure to have the money in your bank account.

The payout you describe - it is VERY rare, and usually only when a developer wants to demolish a building to put up something new. And they probably had a good lawyer who gets up to 30% of the payout.

With DHCR, it can take UP to 5 years. But not always. I don't know what you mean by "eviction request." If he seeks your eviction in court, that's not DHCR.

Can you show us the form? If it is what I think, it has a different title, and is to DHCR, not the city.
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