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Re: Late fees in rent-stabilized buildings

Posted by Bill Rowen on September 18, 1997 at 22:49:19:

In Reply to: Re: Late fees in rent-stabilized buildings posted by Gary on September 17, 1997 at 10:51:30:

: : It's not so much a matter of legality (I think they might be), but how
: : to collect. If you ignore paying them (and just keep paying the rent),
: : from the cases I've seen (but lawyers just jump in here), the owner
: : cannot sue you for the late fees in housing court; he would have to seek
: : them in either Small Claims court of Civil Court. I remember one housing
: : court case that was discontinued because the owner added the outstanding
: : late fees in with the rent demanded.

: I was wondering about their legality because of some comments made by the head of the state senate (or assembly?) housing committee, Vito Lopez I think it was, at a public meeting not long before expiration of the rent laws. Lopez said in passing something to the effect that if the landlord win here, they could get a law passed allowing late fees.
: That got me to thinking about the late fee clause in my lease. I figured, based on his comment, that there must be some legal prohibition against late fees.

Late fees are unlawful under rent stabilization, except for a tiny numbers of tenants in the same apartment since the beginning of rent stabilization in 1969 who had late fee clauses in their leases on that date. The specific language in the RS Code that prohibits late fees altogether is in the Prohibitions section of the Code, Section 2525.2(a) "Evasion." This clearly states that fees and other charges are an evasion of the rent limitations in RS. Additionally, DHCR, although they do nothing to enforce it, will, if pressed, admit this and issued a letter to this effect five or six years ago. Good luck.
Bill Rowen, Met Council on Housing

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