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rent increased after owner saw us in person: is this illegal?

Posted by Michael on May 13, 2000 at 15:54:01:

My friend and I got a listing for a 1300 dollar apt in our building (124th Broadway, Manhattan) from Apt Express, a list service. The super, who knows me, showed it to us, telling us it was 1200. We spoke with the owners office several times. They said it was 1300. When we wlaked in the door of the realty office, the owner peered out od his office, and shouted "make sure they know it is 1500!" The same man, Joe Pistilli, did this to me before, rasing the asking price from 1900 to 2200 after meeting me. We felt that he sized us up, determined we could afford it based solell on our appearance, and increased the rent. I stormed out and told him I would report him, and that it was illegal. The next day, it was still listed as 1300. We filed a complaint on HUDs website, and have received a form in the mail to fill out? Can we claim discrimination based on race? We are both white men living in a predominantly hispanic/black building, owned by Pistilli. I think when he saw us, he assumed he could squeeze a few more hundred out of us. We found another apt through the Voice (for an arm and a leg) but I want some form of recourse to affect this man whom I feel is being arbitrary in his rent pricing. Any advice is appreciated.

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