Posted by chelsea on March 28, 2001 at 18:31:50:
In Reply to: four-year limitation posted by fred jerome on March 28, 2001 at 05:14:03:
There were some successful court challenges to the four-year rule in the early 1990's, but then the legislature solidified the four-year rule with "Rent Regulation Reform Act" of 1997. The recent changes in December amend the regulations that carry out the rent laws to reflect the 1997 changes. Tenant activists have found that those amendments went beyond even what the pro-landlord legislators had done to eviscerate tenant protections. For instance, there had been some question about whether the four-year rule applied to fair market rent appeals (when an apartment goes from rent control to stabilization); the new amendments say it applies to those too. There was talk of a challenge to the December amendments, but I haven't heard of anything coming through the pipeline yet. Has anyone else?
Given the four-year rule, it is extremely important for all regulated tenants to call DHCR and get their rent histories. If there's an overcharge within four years, file an overcharge complaint immediately with DHCR. DHCR is years behind and probably won't act on your complaint, but if you file, it will be on the record and the clock starts running. Even if you decide to take the case to Housing Court months or years later, you'll be able to claim an overcharge four years prior to the DHCR filing. If the tenant is successful, that overcharge may be trebled, and the rent reduced.
If tenants delay, particularly beyond four years after they moved in,
they may lose out on hundreds or thousands of dollars, as the largest overcharges are typically on the vacancy rate between tenants. Sometimes landlords will take only small increases for the first four years after an illegal increase, then slam tenants with a big increase in the fifth year when it's too late for them to do anything about it.
: Our building is an old structure, nearly 100 years old, in Manhattan, still entirely a rental with 100 units, approximately two thirds are rent stabilized or rent controlled. Rent stabilized have written leases.
: Have there been any legal challenges to the new four-year limit in determining the legal, regulated rent (replacing subdivision (f) of section 2520.6)? If so, what is their status? Are any such challenges currently pending? Have any of them dealt specifically with the issue of the four years immediately prior to the passage of the statute (1993-1997)? Also, if the statute was passed in 1997, what is the significance of its includion in the Rent Stabilization Code this past December (2000)? Did it not apply or not fully apply prior to its includsion in the RSC?
: Any help will be gretly appreciated.
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