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LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

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

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LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

Postby latetenant » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:58 pm

My landlord sent my lease renewal 6 months late (3 months after the lease expired). When they finally sent the lease renewal, it was backdated as if they sent me the renewal 90 days before the lease expired, and included an increase for both a 1 and 2 year renewal. Unfortunately I waited longer than 60 days to respond to the lease renewal. In the meantime they continued to cash my rent checks.

I finally reached out to the landlord to see if they could offer me a lease renewal that reflects that the lease did not exist for several months, and I am still waiting for an answer back and they were very unclear about what they may or may not be willing to do. I'm confused about what I have the right to here, as some of what I've read about lease renewals for rent stabilized apartments indicated that the landlord is at fault for not sending the renewal on time and I can ask for a new lease that starts in 90 days despite my slowness in responding, and the rest says that because I failed to respond to the renewal in the 60 day period my landlord can evict me and the only way to avoid that is signing the backdated lease with the increase. My next meeting with the landlord is coming up and I'd like to have a better idea of where I stand before we meet so I can negotiate if needed.

Thank you!
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Re: LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:13 pm

First, since you're rent stab, the renewal offer must be on the RTP-8 form. No other form is allowed.

Look carefully at the instructions on page 2 of that form. Both LL and T should follow that. Make sure the allowable increases conform to this year's RGB increases. I assume you know how to do that.

But backdating is not allowed. Did the offer come in the mail? If so, keep the envelope to show the date it was postmarked. (always keep envelopes).

I would right away send it back to the LL stating a) you intent to renew the lease, but b) backdating is not allowed and c) tell them how they have violated the rules and what they need to do to make it acceptable.

That you waited more than 60 days to respond should not be fatal to your position (I've never seen a tenant evicted for going past the 60 days). But be more punctual going forward.

Cashing your checks is a completely separate issue from the lease renewal. Do not get the two mixed up. But because they waited for several months, (again, see the RTP-8 instructions), your rent does not legally go up until they do send the offer.

...and the rest says that because I failed to respond to the renewal in the 60 day period my landlord can evict me and the only way to avoid that is signing the backdated lease with the increase


That is BS. Where did you see that?

If the LL refuses to amend the renewal offer to reflect the date they send a proper renewal offer to you, then in our opinion, you should stand your ground. You can also file a complaint with DHCR.
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Re: LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

Postby latetenant » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:16 pm

They used the correct form, and the increases conform to the RGB increases - the only issue I have with the increase is that it covers the period when the lease did not exist. The landlord left the lease in my door so no postmark, but I do have emails between me and the rent office where I'm asking for the lease starting 2 months after the lease expired; all previous communication was over the phone or in person.

I guess I'm confused about whether there's an obligation to respond in the 60 day window if the lease offered is invalid - the back of the lease renewal says I need to contact DHCR within 60 days if I'm disputing the amount of rent they're charging or the increase amount, and that if I do not respond in time it can be grounds for eviction but nothing about if the lease is improperly backdated.
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Re: LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:41 pm

Make sure the RGB increases are correct at the time a new and correct renewal is offered. If the old renewal was before Oct 1 and the new one after Oct 1, then the new RGB percentages apply. However, read the RTP-8 instructions as you might have the choice to pick which applies.

The rent should not go up until the effective date in a new proper lease. Do not pay any higher rent until then. The RTP-8 form will have the date on it. And from that you can tell if it's incorrect.

I don't know if emails will suffice (they might), but the best way to communicate is by certified mail RRR. A little expensive, but it's worth it in some situations.

From what I've seen over 30 years, the 60-day is a "soft" deadline. There are many cases where the courts have allowed tenant responses well beyond the 60 day limit. Judges will not evict tenants for missing that deadline. Plus, it's not an issue unless the LL objects and you end up in court, so I wouldn't be that worried.
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Re: LL sent RS lease renewal late, then I responded late...

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:03 pm

Also, understand the dynamics here. DHCR has no authority to evict tenants. Only the courts can do that. Plus, DHCR will not be brought into this unless and until the tenant makes a complaint. There are times when this makes sense, and times when it does not.

Plus the LL is cashing your checks. This is good. He could have to bring you to court for non-pay (for the increased rent he probably has no right to seek), or a holdover based on your refusal to sign a lease. Your defense would be that it's an illegal offer.

So right now you're in the bickering phase. I would send letters to the LL (cert mail) with copies of the instructions and the law.
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