Posted by DK on February 23, 1999 at 20:12:46:
In Reply to: landlord hasn't registered bldg. since 1985 posted by Sam on February 23, 1999 at 12:11:58:
Yes, it appears that your apartment is still subject to rent stabilization unless there is some obscure exception, such as an expiring tax abatement, substantial rehabilitation after 1974 or financing by a state or federal agency. These exceptions, although possible, are not very likely.
Failure to register bars an owner from applying for or collecting any increase in excess of the legal regulated rent in effect at the time of the last registration. However, the filing of a late registration results in the prospective elimination of sanctions for any overcharge that would have otherwise been legal but for the late filing of the registration. (See New York City Rent Stabilization Law § 26-517(e).
Translation: Pay only the last registered rent. If you pay a higher amount and the landlord subsequently files a late registration to correct the problem, you do not get back any increase which you already paid (to the extent that the increase would have otherwise been legal). If you are wrong and the landlord is entitled to collect the higher amount, you can always pay it once a court determines that you owe it, although it is possible that you could also be charged the landlord's legal fees if there is a legal fee provision in the lease. If you are right, the landlord will not be able to collect any old increases which you did not pay, although once the landlord does register, the landlord will be able to begin collecting the increases.
If the difference is substantial, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney. The legal issue is somewhat sophisticated, even for some housing court judges. If there is a legal fee provision in your lease, the landlord will have to pay your legal fees if you are successful in the lawsuit.
: My bldg hasn't been registered with the DHCR since 1985. My current landlord bought the place in 1991. Can I assume that all of the apartments are regulated in 1999? It was built before 1974, has 8 units and no co-ops.
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