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Multiple MCI Retroactive Rent Increases

Posted by Jill on March 08, 1999 at 19:01:42:

I have a question regarding multiple MCI retroactive rent increases. I am a rent-stabilized tenant in NYC. Within a six month period DHCR issued orders granting my present landlord two separate MCI rent increases (my building's tenants' association filed PARs for both). The first retroactive increase was effective with the January 1999 rent and was equal to 6% of my rent, as listed on the schedule of monthly income filed with the owner's MCI application in 1990. The second retroactive increase was equal to 6% of my rent from the 1996 MCI appliation. I have been paying both prospective increases since the effective date of the MCI order. Cumulatively, these two MCI retroactive increases are more than 10% of my current rent. Is this legal? Is the landlord allowed to charge me a total MCI retroactive amount that is more than 6% of the rents listed on the original MCI application? I've heard this is called 'piggy-backing', and it is common and that some landlords try this in tiers with tenants.

Also, is the landlord required to provide the tenants with any official notification of the retroactive increase, or is the DHCR order sufficient? The previous landlord sent all tenants a memorandum outlining the details of an MCI rent increase and what future rent bills would reflect. Would this set a precedent in terms of services rendered/provided to the tenants? The current landlord sent the tenants a 2nd rent bill in mid-January 1999. The bill only contained the words "MCI Retroactive [with no description of the MCI], the dollar amount, and a message "Our records indicate that the rent due in respect of the premises has not been received and is overdue. In order to avoid any unnecessary problems kindly forward your check forthwith in the aggregate amount as set forth in the space indicated in TOTAL DUE". This was our first notice that the MCI retroactive payment was due and many tenants felt this was a harassment tactic. Please help!

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