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Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

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

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Re: Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

Postby Bouba2020 » Fri Nov 05, 2021 10:23 am

Also, the document the lawyer submitted states that the landlord combined 2 vacant apartments.
Even if true - the apartment was not vacant and it is confirmed in the rent history.
Even if the bathroom was added - I’m not sure it’s legal to charge “first rent” of $2000 up from $385 (scrie) or 509 legal rent with only 20,000 in renovations combined to 3 (!) apartments.
The certificate of occupancy is not changed. - there is a letter stating this that is on file with DOB.
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Re: Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:33 pm

If done legally, an owner may charge a "first rent" when the outside dimensions of an apartment are changed. Adding a room, i.e., expanding the unit to make it overall larger, would likely let the LL charge a first rent.

The theory is that an apartments history is based on the rent, service and dimensions of an existing apartment. Change the dimensions and you have a new apartment.

SCRIE doesn't matter; that's a benefit for a tenant.

If the unit was occupied, then they cannot create a new unit or first rent until a new tenant takes occupancy, in our opinion.

DHCR has a habit of ignoring things like Cert. of Occupancy. I'd speak with a tenant attorney.
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Re: Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

Postby Bouba2020 » Tue Nov 09, 2021 11:18 pm

Ok, this is crazy, but let me share what I discovered.

The landlord did not combine the 2 apartments when the tenant was there. The apartment indeed did not have a bathroom. The landlord has moved the door further into the corridor and extended a partition blocking of the utility room with the bathroom entirely, it basically got buried between 4 walls. To be clear, there was an apartment and there was a separate space with a separate door from the corridor which was a bathroom.

He basically only added 6 SF due to this door relocation and walls build up. He then changed the apartment number, adding letter A at the end. His lawyer is playing with words stating that “current number” of the apartment has bathroom while the other one lacked it. Yes, now I have a bathroom, but when the landlord increased the legal rent by $1500 - there was none.

It blew my mind when I saw this on architectural drawings. I wrote a reply stating the above to DHCR. I provided proofs like the architect drawings before and after, city permit citing the scope of work that mentions “ minor renovations to 3 floors, partition, plumbing and mechanical”, that costs $20,000. The certificates of occupancy for the last 50 years that show the number of rooms remained unchanged on this floor.

How illegal is that???
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Re: Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Nov 11, 2021 12:51 pm

So, to summarize the timeline:

*The prior tenant lived in an apartment with no bathroom; they had to exit their apartment into the hallway, and then enter the bathroom. The legal rent on the apartment was $509.
*The prior tenant moved out.
*The landlord put up walls to incorporate the hallway between the apartment door and the bathroom door into the apartment, so that the bathroom was now inside the apartment.
*You then moved into the "new" apartment, which now includes the bathroom. The landlord charged you an initial rent of $2000.

Is this a correction description of the timeline?
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Re: Landlord Changed apartment number and deregulated it

Postby Bouba2020 » Thu Nov 11, 2021 2:03 pm

Thanks for summarizing the timeline!
All looks good except for :
The prior tenant never moved out, he was registered with DHCR and was reissued a new lease for a changed apartment number by the landlord 6 month later with a “first lease rider” with the rent $2000, adding a rider stating preferential rent is 386.14 ( Scrie). He then continued his residency there for 4 more years. I can only imagine the landlord may have also collected the scrie benefits for the huge difference.
Than the apartment was put back on the market in 2006 for $1600. I assume this is when the landlord destroyed the wall and connected the bathroom to the given apartment.
I moved in 10 years after the old tenant was gone.
What frustrates me is the landlords scheme - he never let an olderly man use the bathroom! He’d rather have it buried than let a person enjoy the remainder of his life in comfort, yet collecting benefits from this!
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