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No, keep complaining!

Posted by Chelsea on August 27, 2000 at 21:22:19:

In Reply to: Brooklyn Landlord Overcharging Rent - Please Help! posted by Rona Rapadas on August 27, 2000 at 18:46:03:

Don't stop complaining, or asserting your rights as a tenant!

If the building was recently six units, it almost certainly will remain under rent stabilization, unless the landlord can show he has substantially renovated the building. Was the building essentially gutted? Was it more than 80 percent vacant? (Probably not, I don't think buyouts would count as vacancies.) You might want to check the certificate of occupancy to see if it was amended after the construction to reflect a change in the number of units. If not, the landlord theoretically cannot charge any rent at all until a legal c of o is obtained, though this is a difficult track for a tenant to pursue.

The bad news is that if a larger apartment was created, the landlord probably has the right to charge a free-market "first rent" for the first lease after the renovation. But it still remains under rent stabilization, and still should be registered.

Since there probably isn't a rent overcharge, it may not be worth your money to hire a lawyer now. It probably wouldn't hurt to file a complaint with DHCR, just to get it on the record that you say the building is supposed to be rent-stabilized in case you go to court later on, since it doesn't cost anything (you don't have to notify your landlord; just cross out that part of the form). Then watch carefully when your lease is about to expire (it is extremely unlikely that DHCR will have done anything by then). If you don't get a renewal lease with the proper guideline rent increase within the required time period (look at the lease renewal and rent overcharge section of TenantNet) then hire a tenant lawyer to take it to Housing Court.

You might want to run your case by a tenant law clinic in Brooklyn; maybe somone else on this forum can point you to one. (I'm not a lawyer; I just play one on the Internet.)

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