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Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to ignore?

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

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Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to ignore?

Postby sr77 » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:54 pm

Landlord renewed a lease late at time of last renewal because it wanted me to return numerous other documents.

I refused. It refused to execute the renewal, then finally relented and executed the lease several months late.

Although the rent has been accepted each month, the rent bills I receive have added 'late charges' and 'arrears' (for nonpayment of the 'late' charges), apparently because management doesn't accept that its delay in renewing the lease means the new rent under the renewal didn't go into effect until it executed the renewal lease.

I sent a request some time ago for them to 'fix' this but that hasn't happened. (I received no reply.)

Should I do anything about this or is landlord's acceptance of the correct rent each month 'good enough' (i.e., just ignore the phony bills)?

Thanks.
sr77
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:12 pm

Re: Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to igno

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:57 pm

You said "landlord renewed a lease late" but then you said you refused and later relented.

So who refused? There seems to be a discrepancy here. How about a rough timeline? As to when the new lease takes effect, well that might depend on how things unfolded. If the LL made a timely and correct offer, and if then you withheld returning it to the LL, it just might be that the lease (and any increases) should go into effect as the LL listed on the renewal form.

As for returning other documents, you don't say what they are (and that can be important). Many extra documents do not need to be provided to the LL, but some might. Either way, while you can not return the requested documents, unless you have a legitimate reason, you should sign and return your lease in the given window.

As for rent and other charges, understand those have nothing to do with your lease renewal.

In some cases late charges might be legitimate, but they have to be spelled out in your original lease. Were they? Are they usurious?

What I would do is to immediately start "earmarking" your payments, on your checks or money orders, always write "rent for [month/year] and no other months." Legally that mean the LL must apply that to the rent for that specific month.

Always make copies of the checks/MO's and always send by Certificate of Mailing (or certified mail) to show when it was mailed. Keep all your documentation, make copies and/or scan to your computer, and don't give originals to anyone else.
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Re: Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to igno

Postby sr77 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:08 pm

I'll clarify:

The landlord sent me additional documents that it wanted me to agree to, sign and return along with the renewal lease. I posted about those here at that time (near the bottom of pg. 1 -> viewtopic.php?t=12773).

I returned the signed renewal lease with my chosen term but did not return the other documents with my signature. The landlord refused to execute the renewal lease until I did so.

Several months later, presumably because it wasn't getting the rent increase on the renewal, the landlord relented and executed the renewal lease.

Since then landlord has accepted all my monthly rent payments without comment.

However, on the bills it sends every month landlord has added amounts that reflect its apparent unwillingness to accept the fact that the increase on the renewal did not go into effect until it executed the renewal.

Since I haven't paid those 'added on' amounts (i.e., I've only paid the rent under the renewal lease), landlord has also added 'late charges' on top of those (and based solely on those).

So my question was whether I needed to concern myself with these invoices even though the landlord hasn't contacted me or taken any steps regarding my non-payment of the mentioned charges -- which again relate only to the fact that the landlord seems to think the increase should be effective as of the original renewal date, rather than the month when it executed the renewal lease.

Thanks.
sr77
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:12 pm

Re: Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to igno

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:33 pm

I can't find those documents you posted. I see nothing towards the bottom pf page 1 on the link you provided. (I'm not going to re-read all three pages).

Why did you start a new thread if this is a continuation of the prior issue. DO NOT do that, please.

What did I say at the time about the need to sign additional documents? It really depends on what they are as some documents are probably legit, but others are not.

Remember that without a lease, your rent does not go up. So absent a real need to have a lease, I would let the issue alone.

Always make sure you return the lease by certified mail, RRR.

Always follow the instructions on the back of DHCR form RTP-8 as to when a new lease takes effect, when the rent increases and so on.

A while back my LL tried similar things. They refused to renew the lease as I refused to sign and return the page on the DHCR informational rider. There is no law that says I must do that. I eventually filed with DHCR and they ruled in my favor.

You could pay the increase they demand, then file an overcharge complaint. But to be honest, I would not do so.

On the monthly bill, do they call the extra amounts "rent" or something else.

Obviously the late charges are bogus.

You could also file harassment charges. It's pure intimidation.

You could also send the LL a letter, certified, informing him that what he is doing is illegal. Just to put it on record.

You should also start to earmark all payments, every month.
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Re: Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to igno

Postby sr77 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:39 am

For some reason you're misunderstanding what I'm posting about.

All the lease renewal issues are in the past. They have no direct relevance to the current issue, which is simply about the rent bills.

Specifically, the landlord keeps piling charges on the monthly rent bills that are not related to any non-payment of rent but to his not getting the increase under the renewal lease for about 4 months because he chose not to execute the lease without those other documents.

It was only after I drew his attention to the provision on the renewal lease form that states that the increase can't be imposed until the lease is executed that the landlord relented and sent the executed lease to me. That's all in the past.

Regarding the 'other documents,' I'm aware that there are a few that are required. Those I returned. The others were ones that you agreed were not required.

If you go to the post shown below at the link I provided -- viewtopic.php?t=12773 -- I think you may recall this topic. There was quite a bit of back & forth about it. The next post in reply to the one below was yours.

Re: Which 'notices' are required to be returned to the LL?
Postby sr77 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:17 am

(If there were permalinks to individual posts I would link directly to it. Sorry that I can't.)

Thanks.
sr77
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:12 pm

Re: Rent bill w/ fake 'arrears' & 'late payments'—ok to igno

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:02 am

I understand perfectly, and I answered the current issue.

A bill is just a piece of paper. If the LL sends you a piece of paper demanding $100,000 in rent for one month, obviously that's illegal and you would not pay (even if not regulated).

To collect he would have to take you to court and prove that was the legal rent, or the rent specified in the lease.

For other items they might put in the bill, it's my understanding that non-rent items can't be sought in Housing Court. Let's say the LL puts in a line for heat, or carpentry or plumbers, those are all non-rent.

But to be honest, I'm not sure if late fees are allowed. They might be, but they have to be specified in the lease, and be reasonable, not usurious. A late fee is when the actual rent is late. It should not be a late fee for failure to pay a late fee.

See the DHCR Fact Sheet on this: https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documen ... T%2044.pdf

As for the rent, it should be the legal rent specified in the least RTP-8. The term dates should also be specified in the lease. Did the lease that you signed have the correct dates?

Look at the instructions of the renewal lease (the new 2019 version is at https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documen ... /RTP-8.pdf )

I think the renewal date is based on when the lease is offered b y the LL, not when they execute it. That's my read, but I would check other sources as well.
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