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illegal broker's fee

Posted by obtusest on February 13, 2002 at 20:42:50:

I have lived in a rent stabilized apartment for the past year and a half and have just recently realized that the broker's fee I payed was illegal (thanks to The fee was paid to someone I have never seen but who takes care of business dealings for the landlord. I found the apartment on my own and was shown the apartment by the landlord. I paid the fee in cash but I do have a written receipt from the broker.

I have done a lot of searching on and can cite the portions of the RSL which declare this to be illegal and that overcharges are subject to triple the amount in damages. I was not able to find, however, any relevant housing court cases dealing with this issue. I am preparing a letter to my landlord and would like to be able to cite some cases in addition to the law. I would appreciate any information on a database or cases which would be useful for this purpose or reasons why these cases are rarely seen in court eg. they are usually settled between tenant and landlord quietly or they are very difficult to win.

I am hoping that the "broker" will make restitution without going to court which I will suggest in my first letter. Should I ask for three times the fee at this point, or is that only if it goes to court?

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