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Re: Assured building was not rent stabilized, but it apparently is, what course of action can I take?

Posted by TenantNet on December 23, 1996 at 23:36:39:

In Reply to: Assured building was not rent stabilized, but it apparently is, what course of action can I take? posted by Bill on December 23, 1996 at 14:37:36:

: In the process of signing lease, I asked the broker if the building
was rent stabalized. The answer was absolutely not, never has been.
Was then informed that rent stabalized leases are different from
unregulated leases. Is this true?
: As it turns out, the buidling is stabalized, though I do not know
what the rent is supposed to be? Do I have any rights against either
the broker or the landlord? If so, what are they?

It's more common than not that landlords and brokers will lie to tenants
(welcome to NYC). Whether or not a **unit** is **subject** to stabilization
laws depends on many factors. The "quick" check is if a) the building is
greater than six units, and b) built prior to 1974, and c) not a coop/condo.
It can get more complicated, but if it meets those criteria, then there's
a good chance the unit is subject to stabilization. Usually DHCR decides
these matters, but these days, even more than before, the agency has
thrown the law out the window. It's not impossible to get a good decision
out of DHCR, but more and more unlikely. Also, with the 1993 change in
the Rent Stabilization Law, units may be deregulated due to high income
or high rent. Again, DHCR rubber stamps these applications and refuses in
many cases to perform the most basic checks -- like if the above $2,000
rent got to that point legally.

Yes, RS leases are different for a variety of reasons, and if you didn't
get a RS lease when you should, then your "legal" rent cannot go up. It's
also likely the owner failed to register the unit and pay the $10 administrative
fee -- both of which a failure will bar rent increases. Your rent may or may
not be inline with what it should be under stabilization, and if it's
more, you could possibly get an overcharge finding.

The broker has no liability against overcharge, but you can make complaints
as to any misrepresentations he might have made. If you can establish damages,
you could sue him, but the more direct route would be to challenge his license.
But you also need to realize the current Attorney General has as much respect
for the law as DHCR.

But to find that out you need a determination from either DHCR or the courts.
And even though DHCR is horrible, the courts are not that much better with
the current crop of judges who are willing to turn their heads when it comes
to the law. If you file with DHCR, you would ask for a status determination.
Once that's done, then the legal rent can be established and that can be judged
against what you've paid.

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