Posted by DK on August 19, 1999 at 04:36:01:
In Reply to: Re: Verification of landlord posted by Anna on August 17, 1999 at 00:25:45:
Getting the deed at the Hall of Records is an excellent way to proceed.
The new owner of a multiple dwelling is required to file the new registration with
the Department of Housing Preservation and Development at the time the deed is filed. Indeed,
the City Register will not accept a deed for filing without a new MDR. It can take as
much as six weeks, however, before the MDR reaches HPD and is available to the public.
You can obtain a copy of the MDR at the borough office, in Manhattan, at 215 W. 125 St. The
charge is $8 for a certified copy.
If you are not sure that the new landlord is entitled to collect the rent, you could
send a letter asking for written documentation of his right to collect it. If you are
in doubt, you should wait until you are sued for the rent. The landlord will have
to present certified copies of the deed and multiple dwelling registration to the court.
The court will review those documents and may advise you whether they establish that the
landlord is entitled to collect the rent. Theoretically, if you wait to be sued,
the landlord might try to get you to pay his legal fees, but if you are acting reasonably and
come to court prepared to pay what you owe, it is very unlikely that a judge would
rule against you.
The landlord is only entitled to collect rent owed for dates before he acquired
ownership if he can present a written "assignment of rents" a document signed by
the prior owner, or perhaps a court order, which gives the new landlord the right
to collect rents prior to the new owner's acquisition of title. You are entitled
to have a copy of the written assignment of rents before you are required to pay
any back rent. There are a lot of technical court decisions on this point which
may work to your advantage in avoiding payment of the back rent. If the amount is
substantial, it might be worth you while to have a lawyer help you avoid paying the
rent for those prior months.
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