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Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

Postby Bigskunk911 » Thu May 30, 2024 6:44 am

Quick Question,

My LL is illegally adding legal fees
(because of dhcr complaint) and an illegal late fee to the ledger despite the fact that it was withing 5 days from payment due date. I understand I don't have to pay these fees, according to the LL's payment processor , as long as I customize the payment, the agency will only apply payments to the rent portion, which it is doing, however this is a hassle since auto-pay situations are unlkely.

Generally, speaking though what happens if you file an overcharge complaint and didn't pay those fees, I don't think you will be awareded say treble damanges, but can you still get damages if you opted not to pay the illegal fees, or will DHCR simply order the LL to remove those fees or do nothing?
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Re: Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

Postby TenantNet » Thu May 30, 2024 10:41 am

Before asking questions, please look at the forum's Reference Section. You would have found this:
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=8620

and this
https://www.brickunderground.com/rent/l ... legal-fees

Only a court can award legal fees. It's common for LLs to include a legal fee demand as part of a court case, but it has no effect unless the court orders it, and then only if there's a clause in your initial lease allowing that (it has to be reciprocal, meaning if you won, your lawyer could get legal fees from the LL).

A LL can't add legal fees to a monthly rent bill unless there's a court order (and it has to clear what the amount is for -- not part of rent. If the LL tries to take you to court again and seeks illegal legal fees, you've got a defense and you should seek sanctions from the LL and the LL's attorney. Of course best to get a consultation from a tenant attorney.

AFAIK, DHCR does not award legal fees to either party - I don't know if they have the authority to do so, but in over 30 years, I've never seen it.

Late fee is a different issue.

I would never use a payment processor working for the LL. Are you earmarking your payments? Write "Rent for June 2024" on the memo part of each check or M.O. Because I did that, my LL could not seek about $5,000 in past payments withheld (for good reason).

Yes, rent payment is a hassle. I pay by check, earmark the checks and send by Certificate of Mailing. All of that protects me. I generally pay once every three months (in three separate checks - keep them separated) and demand a receipt pursuant to RPL 235-e. Chances are the LL won't comply, but if in court, that can help.
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Re: Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

Postby Bigskunk911 » Thu May 30, 2024 12:10 pm

Yes I believe I've read that forum post, my question is what would happen if filed an overcharge complaint regarding the LL's attempt to bill/add those fees to a ledger?
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Re: Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

Postby TenantNet » Thu May 30, 2024 12:18 pm

Your statements are ambiguous. What do you mean by "a ledger?" Is that an actual bill they send to you? I would ignore that part, just pay the rent.

There is no overcharge unless you paid it. An "attempt to bill" is not an overcharge. It might be considered harassment, but not an overcharge.

There are many version if LL schemes to collect legal fees, and we can't opine on every possible machination, especially if it hasn't happened. Let's stick to things that have actually happened.
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Re: Is there an overcharge if fees not paid(legal,late fees)

Postby Bigskunk911 » Sun Jun 23, 2024 6:04 am

When a tenant goes to pay their bill such as with a service such as rentcafe,clickpay,etc it will show a bill for legal fees and say other fees such as late fees. If you custom pay or pay by check , the payment will only apply to the rent portion. I imagine tenants could get tricked if they setup automatic payments and the system deducts from checking what the LL added.

Just out of curiousity, can a LL sue for such legal fees even though you can't get evicted for not paying it?
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