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DRIE Effective Date Question

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

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DRIE Effective Date Question

Postby Helper » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:48 am

My rent stabilized lease expired on November 30.
I was waiting for my approval for SS disability and didn't sign a renewal until after numerous threats by the LL that they will take me to court if I don't sign. Finally I signed and returned it to them in early January.

1 day after I sent it to them I got a notice from SS office that I have been approved as of September of last year.

Now they still charged me my old rent for December and January.

Can I call them now and state that I made a mistake signing the lease and that I will be sending them another one or is it too late?

Any other things I can do to not pay the increase, which as I understand Im legally allowed now?

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Re: DRIE Effective Date Question

Postby TenantNet » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:30 am

I don't know why you were waiting for the SS disability approval before signing a renewal lease. See the instructions on the back of DHCR form RTP-8 as to how the renewal process works (or is supposed to work). You are supposed to return the accepted renewal within 60 days after receiving the offer from the LL. But those are not always hard deadlines. The LL would still have to take you to court where it's most likely the court would overlook your tardiness. Even so, try to stick with the deadlines.

Did either DHCR or SCRIE/DRIE tell you to hold off? If so, why? As far as I know, there is no reason to connect SS and your lease.

You don't say, but was your SCRIE/DRIE also renewed, or is it effective? On the papers they give you, it will say the effective date.

Call who? I don't understand what you are asking.

Are you mixing up SS approval with DRIE approval? They are different things administered by different offices.
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Re: DRIE Effective Date Question

Postby Mr_Buzzer » Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:37 pm

"Can I call them now and state that I made a mistake..."

I see that you're concerned that your rent will be frozen at the higher renewal lease rate. Don't waste your time calling. Anything said by phone to DoF, that is not documented, will usually have zero effect, no matter what they tell you. All communication with DoF, other than basic inquiries, should be done by certified mail, return receipt requested. Period.

What I say here is not definitive, and you should probably talk to a lawyer familiar with this particular area of law. However, several years back I ran into a similar problem and had to appeal. Note that I'm RC, not RS. Quoting from the ALJ's decision:

"For Rent Controlled apartments, DRIE freezes the rent in effect as of December 31st of the year prior to your application."

Both the law and administrative regulations, as it applies to RS apartments, may be different than RC. Further, changes in both local law and admin' regs' may have occurred some time after my case was decided, and both before and after the new state-wide rent law (HSTPA) was passed. So talking to a lawyer is imperative. There are several low-cost, and "free to the indigent" legal services that can usually answer this type of question.

Mind you, it's not uncommon for the trench-level bureaucrats to get it wrong, necessitating an appeal. A visit (or a letter) to your local councilman's office can further help grease the skids, facilitating a positive outcome. (In my case, the ALJ, looking at their computer screen, actually said "I see you've contacted your councilman's office?").

Do note that many public documents put out by DoF, intended for use by tenant applicants, are deliberately vague and/or misleading. To give you an idea, DoF's brochure, dated Nov. 1st, 2017 (PDF page 18, document page 12, third bullet point down, under the heading "1. Application Approved"), says:

"...(For example, if we receive your application on May 15, and you are approved, your benefit period will start on June 1)."

But nowhere does it tell you what the ALJ (in my case) found "as a matter of law".

Just be aware that the ALJ's finding in my case is not inconsistent with the benefit period beginning the month after receipt of your application. If the laws and regs' in this narrow area haven't changed, and it also applies to RS tenants, then it should also apply to your case, and the frozen rent should be that of the year prior to you submitting your application.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry about it until after you receive approval. (Trying to correct application errors while "in process" only slows down the process). At which point, if it's wrong, you can file an appeal. The approval notice will tell you how and where to file, within 60 days, of any aspect of the decision you disagree with. If you win the appeal, any award will be retroactive, starting the month after initial receipt of your application. (Just like the SSA, they call it the "protective filing date"). The LL will usually just take the awarded difference off your next rent invoice.

Good luck!
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