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DHCR Registration - Overcharge?

Posted by Owen on August 17, 2001 at 11:26:21:

I recently received a notice in the mail from the DHCR that stated the last occupant of my apt on 6/99 was paying $500. I moved in on 6/99 and am paying $2100. This appears on the surface to be blatantly illegal, but I have a few questions.

The DHCR said that the apt. was decontrolled in 1984 (they also said this is what the landlord reported, not actual fact). They also said that since I moved in, he reported that the apt. was deregulated (due to my high rent). Was charging me $2100 as rent a legal action by the landlord, if the apt. was previously stabilized?

It could have been if he had done around $55k worth of improvements (1/40 of the improvements would have been around ~$1500). He did gut the 900 sq. ft. apt, put in new floors, a wall to make the 1 bedroom into a 2 bedroom, and new appliances in the kitchen, but could he really have spent $55,000 on renovations? What's a more likely figure?

If the apt. was actually rent controlled before I moved in, then I'm the first rent stabilized tenant, and I should file a Fair Market Rent Appeal. If it was rent stabilized, then I should file an overcharge. But I can't find out for sure what it was unless I file a Freedom of Information to get the DHCR to look in the archives, but then the landlord will be notified of what I am doing.

Any suggestions on what course of action I should take?

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