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TenantNet Forum Archives 1996-2002
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Re: Initial Registered Rent

Posted by TenantNet on May 18, 1996 at 01:21:30:

In Reply to: Initial Registered Rent posted by Lisa Copeland on May 18, 1996 at 00:49:00:

: If a housing court judge rules that there has never been an initial apartment registration, even though the apartment status has changed from rent control to rent stabilized, can the landlord raise the rent (and thus try to set a market value "initial registered rent") at the point where they finally do register the apartment? In this case, the judge also ruled that, from the time the first rent stabilized tenants moved in until the time she issued the judgment (9 months), the apartment's monthly rent would be the last registered rent under rent control.

This tenant (hopefully you) is lucky to have gone to court instead of DHCR. There is a line of cases
which support this interpretation -- except DHCR refuses to follow the ruling of the Appellate Division.
They claim they don't have to follow the law -- since they were not a party to the case. The culprit at
DHCR (among others) who came up with this novel approach is Nathanial Geller (718-262-4723 if you want to ask him
why he's advising the agency to break the law).

The first case to establish this principle is "Smitten" from 1991. Recently though there have been several
cases which further refine the Smitten ruling -- some better for the tenant and some worse for the tenant
depending on the individual fact pattern of the case. The idea is that without the required initial registration
the rent reverts to the last rent under rent control. The tenant cannot file a Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA)
but instead can file a normal overcharge subject to treble damages. Although we don't have the Smitten case
posted in our court sectionn, I'll try to post it here if space allows.

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