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Re: Rent Overcharge

Posted by Tenantnet on July 30, 1997 at 16:06:46:

In Reply to: Rent Overcharge posted by Eric Grayson on July 30, 1997 at 13:53:02:

: My roommate and I have been subleting a stabilized apt. for about
3 1/2 years. We originally signed a two-year lease and have been
continuing to sublet beyond that on a month-to-month basis. Although
we signed a lease with the overtenant for about the same rent she pays
the landlord, we actually have been paying her about $250 more than
that every month.
: Can we bring a rent overcharge complaint against her and if so, are
we eligible to get money back even for the past year and a half, when
we've just been renting month to month w/o a lease?

Look at the March 1996 issue of the Met Council paper (on the web site)
for a primer on subletting. The OWNER can raise the rent during the term
of the sublet by one vacancy increase (5% stating October 1). If the unit
is furnished, the tenant can raise the LEGAL rent by 10%. That's it. Those
tenants that charge way more than what is allowable undermine the system
and eventually their rights and you ought to go after them as they are
worse than some landlords. You can prove it with your rent checks no matter
what the sublease says. You could file with DHCR (not recommended) or
withhold the overpayment and have the prime tenant take you to court.
Be aware that you could jeopardize the continuing sublet as officially
it's only for two years out of every four and as long as the owner or prime
tenant doesn't mind, you should be OK. You have four years to bring an
overcharge claim, but it's better in court and then if you withhold it
rather than try to get it back after being paid.

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