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Re: Probably illegal destabalization--alternatives to lawyers?

Posted by kristin on July 27, 2000 at 14:18:32:

In Reply to: Probably illegal destabalization--alternatives to lawyers? posted by Stacy on July 27, 2000 at 13:34:22:

it certainly sounds like you should be stabilized to me. i, too, am in an overcharge situation (each apartment in my building filed, actually). i went through dhcr. they are slow and unhelpful. after one tennant's initial win, with an award of $25,000 in back rent and treble damages, the rest of us were denied and then her win was overturned six months later. so, you can guess that there's some shady dealings going on over there. we then filed a PAR appeal and this annoyed our landlord and he tried to evict us. we got a lawyer to help with the PAR and eviction. it helped a lot. he's given our rent strike credibility in court. our PAR is still pending but the eviction thing is on hold until dhcr rules. housing court is scary on your own. and there are a lot of loopholes in the housing laws. perhaps you can round up some other tennants and get them to split legal fees with you. good luck.

: I'm in a $1400/mo studio (one year lease) in a pre-1974, six-unit building with some stabalized units. My lease says my apartment is deregulated. I obtained the rent history from DHCR; it shows a high-rent vacancy deregulation in 1998 (after 10 years of temporary exemption because of commercial occupation). The listed rent for the entire period, including 1998, is $0.

: I've already consulted with a lawyer, and she agreed that this looks extremely dubious. My options for dealing with the situation appear to be a) file a DHCR overcharge complaint (which I've been advised against numerous times), or b) start witholding rent (after sending a certified letter and all that) and deal with the situation in housing court.

: I apparently have legal grounds to start witholding rent, since I was also charged an illegal broker's fee (key money) by the managing agent when I moved in. Trouble is, every lawyer I've check with predicts this will cost thousands of dollars to fight in court--and I just don't have that kind of money. (I know I'd be likely to get it back in the end, but it's still too much to field up front.) Still, I hate to let these scummy landlords get away with the deregulation because I can't afford to fight it.

: Has anyone here ever gone to housing court over a witholding/overcharge case without a lawyer? Am I likely to screw up badly if I try?

: Thanks in advance.

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