Posted by Rona Rapadas on August 27, 2000 at 18:46:03:
I moved into my apartment building in March 2000. At the time that my roommate and I moved in, there were 5 units in the building. In a month, our landlord had paid original tenants to leave the building so he could evolve the 5 units into 4 units (thus passing it as a privately-owned building, NON-rent-stabilized). He did this by combining Apt. #2 and Apt. #3 (both on the second floor) into one apartment. Ah, what the magic of sheet rock can do! We currently live on the 1st floor, which was also converted from two separate units (our building was ORIGINALLY a six-unit apartment building - rent stabilized). So you can understand now what our landlord was and is trying to get away with. Me and my roommate pay $1800 a month for our apartment (remember now that our unit was converted from 2 units). Before leaving, the tenants that used to occupy this building informed us that they each paid no more than $400 for their units, a month! If our building was rent-stabilized (which both our landlord and broker assured us it WAS), then we should be paying no more that $800 total rent for our apartment. I tried to get a rental history on our building, but no history was found. A DHCR representative told me that our building was probably never registered. They suggested that I file a complaint that my landlord is overcharging rent. This complaint would be overseen by an inspector who would question the landlord about the building. I know that my landlord is fully capable of lying and telling the Housing Authority that this building was "never" a 6-unit apartment. He has painted and sheet-rocked the units to shroud any evidence. Can someone with expertise advise me on what steps I should take to file a complaint on overcharging? Or tell me if it's worth it to move forward with my convictions on this situation?
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I'd appreciate any help!
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