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Landlord offers renewal 1.5 years late: Rent increase OK?

Posted by Mike on February 22, 2001 at 12:12:37:

I rent an apartment in Manhattan. The building was constructed around 1930, has 16 units, and is rent stabilized.

I moved here in 1997 and got a one-year renewal lease in 1998 that expired in September 1999. I asked the landlord several times for a renewal (no written requests) but he neglected to offer a new lease. Since 1999, I have paid the monthly rent shown on my latest lease. I see the landlord almost every week and he never complained.

Last month, the landlord gave me two one-year renewal lease forms. The first, for the period October 1999 to September 2000, is dated May 1999 and adds a 2% rent increase. The second, for the period October 2000 to September 2001, is dated May 2000 and adds 4% to the rent.

According to a mailing from the DHCR, the legal regulated rent for my apartment was $930 in April 2000. The document also says that the rent had changed since the prior year due to lease renewal. I actually pay $910, the legal regulated rent in April 1999.

The two renewal leases would raise my rent to around $965. Should I accept this increase or can I choose to pay only 4% over my current rent (for a one-year renewal) or 6% over the rent (for a two-year renewal)? Can the landlord ask for back rent? Also, when should the renewal lease start? I like the building and want to stay here.

Many thanks for your advice.

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