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I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

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

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I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby loosid744 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:19 am

I have been paying my rent on time to the woman I sublet from for more than 1 year now. I just found out that she hasn't paid rent to the land lord since November. I have also found out that her rent is 600 while she is charging me 1100.

She is not returning my or the landlords phone calls. Can someone please advise on a next step..
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby mjr203 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 12:36 pm

i assume you want to keep the apartment.

you have some options. the LL already knows about the non-payment and is sure to start eviction against the tenant shortly. the fact that she is not living there makes it an illusory sublet. Did she get permission from the LL to sublet the apartment? You might want to approach the LL and tell him you want to take over the lease from the delinquent tenant. What the best case would be is that you would sign a new lease (after he "evicts" the other tenant, or brings her lease to an end)... you would then pay $600 + vacancy increase (18%) per month. If the LL is really pissed, they might want to kick you out from spite or to do renovation, but maybe not.

In the meanwhile, I would DEFINITELY stop paying any rent to this deceptive tenant. Hold the $ in escrow and start researching pursuing her for overcharge. If you've paid her $500 over $600 for 12 months, she has overcharged you by $6000. Intentional overcharges are penalized by the DHCR (or civil court) with treble penalties also and I believe it doesn't matter if it is a LL overcharging or a prime tenant. Now, a) the DHCR is slower than molasses in alaska b) it is hard to get $ out of a judgement, esp. from an individual (who is probably broke anyhow), but it still is the right thing to do.

I hope i've been accurate. You can find out about "illusory tenancy" here on tenant.net and at the DHCR site.

pointer

<small>[ April 21, 2003, 12:39 PM: Message edited by: pointerout ]</small>
most Landlords suck it.
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby loosid744 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 2:29 pm

I would like to keep the appt.

She didn't get permission to sublet the appt. She bought a home in PA where she is currently living.

How do I ensure that is I take over the place she only charges me 18% above what she is currently charging. I am afraid that if I bring this up to her she will not give me the lease.

Also, should I speak with a lawyer or can I do this on my own?
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby mjr203 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 2:47 pm

I do not know if a lawyer is required to deal with illus. sublet. I would think not as you are not in danger of being sued for nonpayment.

The landlord cannot charge above the current legal base rent for a rent stabilized apartment. Assuming the LL rents you the apartment, they should offer you a lease with rent stabilization rider at the previous stabilized rent ($600?) plus whatever increases they are entitled to -- vacancy amount (18%) + approved MCI/indiv. apt. improvements. (i.e., 1/40 the cost added to the base rent) Of course if you are already there, you would know if any improvements have been done.

The prime tenant from whom you were letting the apartment is an abuser of the rent stab. system. I don't know if there are any extenuating circumstances, but otherwise I'd say she deserves to keelhauled. You know where she is living now which is good, should you pursue her for the overcharge (and you should). The LL should pursue her for the back rent.

-POINTER

<small>[ April 21, 2003, 02:49 PM: Message edited by: pointerout ]</small>
most Landlords suck it.
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby loosid744 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:08 pm

I understand that the my lease can only be 18% -20% more then the previous tennants. I am afraid that if I bring it up before I sign the lease I will not get the apt.

On the other hand, if I bring it up after I sign the lease, will I have implicitly waived my rights to the 18-20% protection. I know she wants to charge something in the neighborhood of 2x the current tennants rent.
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby Cranky Tenant » Mon Apr 21, 2003 7:45 pm

Just for starters, you should contact the landlord to see if you can pay the rent directly. That may give you some idea of whether she's willing to have you continue as a tenant or is pllanning to evict you.

If she wants you to cover the back rent see if you can get some kind of agreement in writing.
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby NYHawk » Tue Apr 22, 2003 3:24 am

sounds to me that telling an illegal subtenant to notify the landlord of the illegal subtenancy is tenancy-suicide. Under the new provisions of the rent stabilization code, if there is an illegal subletting, a landlord can evict both the prime tenant and the subtenant. A landlord has no incentive to rent to the illegal subtenant. So, I would suggest that before an illegal subtenant voluntarily gives the landlord the information it will need to use against the subtenant to easily evict the subtenant, the illegal subtenant should determine if he or she is in an illusory tenancy situation. (Prime tenant does not use the apartment as his or her primary residence and (usually) is charging too much rent to the subtenant and (usually) without the landlord's knowledge.) If there is an illusory tenancy situation, and the illegal subtenant follows the proper course of action, he or she will be able to establish tenancy rights in his or her name to a rent stabilized apartment -- without any permission from the landlord required, and will also be able to sue the prime tenant for rent overcharging. This is the kind of situation where a knowledgeable tenant attorney should be consulted BEFORE discussing this situation with either the prime tenant or the landlord. Good luck!
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby mjr203 » Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:52 am

1. consulting a lawyer is sometimes a good idea but there is a limited amount they are going to tell you beyond what you can find out yourself

2. the LL in this case might realize he is losing a non-paying tenant anyway and can gain a paying tenant who is ALREADY in the apartment without losing any more rent and gaining more headaches through an eviction/finding new tenant.

3. in this case, doesn't the LL already know that you are in the apartment and that this prime tenant isn't? I would think notifying the LL of "illegal subtenancy" is a moot point when she's 6 months past due getting any rent.

4. To loosid -- if you sign a lease for the apartment the ll must charge you only the 18-20%. He/She cannot charge above that (well they could but then they might be overcharging). You CANNOT "implicitly waive my rights to the 18-20% protection." [You should if you have not already, contact the DHCR to get a rent history of the apartment. Do this immediately without delay.] If you are forced to sign a lease above the 18 to 20%, smile, sign the lease and challenge it later.

-POINTER

<small>[ April 22, 2003, 08:52 AM: Message edited by: pointerout ]</small>
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Re: I am subletting, rentor hasn't paid rent since mid- Nov

Postby Cranky Tenant » Tue Apr 22, 2003 4:38 pm

Originally posted by NYHawk:
sounds to me that telling an illegal subtenant to notify the landlord of the illegal subtenancy is tenancy-suicide. Under the new provisions of the rent stabilization code, if there is an illegal subletting, a landlord can evict both the prime tenant and the subtenant. A landlord has no incentive to rent to the illegal subtenant. So, I would suggest that before an illegal subtenant voluntarily gives the landlord the information it will need to use against the subtenant to easily evict the subtenant, the illegal subtenant should determine if he or she is in an illusory tenancy situation. (Prime tenant does not use the apartment as his or her primary residence and (usually) is charging too much rent to the subtenant and (usually) without the landlord's knowledge.) If there is an illusory tenancy situation, and the illegal subtenant follows the proper course of action, he or she will be able to establish tenancy rights in his or her name to a rent stabilized apartment -- without any permission from the landlord required, and will also be able to sue the prime tenant for rent overcharging. This is the kind of situation where a knowledgeable tenant attorney should be consulted BEFORE discussing this situation with either the prime tenant or the landlord. Good luck!
I presumed the LL figured this out several months ago when the rent stopped coming in. If she hasn't served the tenant or sub-tenant with eviction papers yet, that might indicate she's willing to work something out.

Consulting a lawyer is certainly a good idea but reaching some agreement outside of court would certainly make for a better long term relationship with the LL if the sub-tenant wishes to remain in the apartent.
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