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Timing of (huge) rent increase - help!

Posted by trixie on December 10, 2001 at 14:44:31:

I live in a rental in Manhattan on a month by month tenancy in a non-rent-stablized/controlled apartment. I have been in this unit for over 4 years now. All other units are owner-occupied. This unit is owned by the board (bought back some 16 years ago from a tenant). The co-op bylaws donít allow for subletting for over 3 years by the owners.

I just called my landlord (who is the managing agent for the building) to thank him for replacing my broken refrigerator and he said, ďOh, by the way, the board has decided to give you a lease starting in January and theyíre raising your rent 50%.Ē

I havenít yet received anything in writing about this. I live across the hall from the president of the board and have seen her several times since the meeting and she hasnít mentioned it to me either. Typically I get a rent notice slid under my door at the end of the month. The landlord intimated that I would be receiving my lease in the usual manner.

I had asked for a lease when I moved in and again two years ago. Nothing was ever forthcoming. This apartment isnít worth the 50% increase. There have been minimal repairs (ceiling caved in 3 times and each time it took over a month to repair) and no improvements to the unit since Iíve been here. I understand that since itís not rent-controlled/stabilized, the landlord can raise it as much as he wants. For just a few hundred dollars more a month, we could have a much nicer apartment elsewhere. However, the rub is that both myself and my husband have been laid off in the wake of 9/11 and weíre not in any position to move out and get a new lease (as we have no employers/income).

My questions:

- Am I entitled to a 30 day notice of rent increase? When would this rent increase be in effect if I am notified in December? Is there a notice period for receiving a lease and switching my tenancy from month-to-month to an annual lease?

- What if I donít agree to the terms of the lease? Is there opportunity for negotiation, and if so, what rent do I pay in the interim?

- If they slip the lease under the door at the end of December, but Iím away until early January, when is the lease served to me? (when they put it under the door, or when Iíve actually received it in hand?)

- Can we delay the rent increase/eviction so we can stay here until we get new jobs and a new apartment? If so, what is the best approach?

- What obligations does the landlord have to month to month tenants (such as painting the apartment every 3 years, having a smoke detector in the unit, etc. Ė none of which has been done)?

- Was this a legal rental, given that the co-op bylaws state that you canít sublet for more than 3 years, and Iíve been there for over 4?

Thanks for your help. I want to be armed with as much information as possible. I appreciate all the information you can offer!

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