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work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

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

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work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby PYC44BK » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:11 pm

My building was just sold & I'm worried about the new LL raising rent. This prompted me to review leases going back to Aug 2010 when my family moved in. As it turns out, we were 1st tenants to live in the apartment after deregulation. LL tacked on $515.90 3 years before we moved in, expediting its departure from the RS program. We have been paying preferential rent all these years, though. Do you think it's possible to get DHCR to review case even though it's been far longer than 4 years? Should we go to a lawyer to fight it? Should we talk to the new LL? We'd really like to stay and fear what the new rent will be. Thanks for any advice!

DETAILS - Our original lease from 8/2010 the legal rent was $2082.17, but preferential rent rider $1300. After looking at apt history from DHCR back to 1984 I found discrepancies. In 2007, an 18 year tenant moved out, and rent jumped from $964.10 to $1480.00 for next occupants. (They updated the kitchen cabinets, but there is no way this jump is justifiable.) Renters lived there a year 12/2007- 12/2008. Vacant 5 months, new tenants move in 5/2009. For this couple there is legal rent at $1716.80 and also introduction of preferential rent at $1350. They move out 5/2010, we move in 8/2010 with preferential rent, $1300 (less!). Our rent has increased but we still pay preferential rent.
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Re: work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:44 pm

The 4-year statue of limitations is pretty strong, but remember it's for overcharges, not RS status. Still they are not supposed to look at any evidence over 4 years old unless you can show fraud. Of course landlord lawyers are always arguing that something isn't fraud. Search the forum as it's been discussed many times. Also search on Google for "DHCR Grimm fraud" (without the quotes). Subsequent cases have tried to define what is - and what is not - fraud for this purpose.

A high rent increase does not necessarily establish fraud. You would probably need more evidence.

It can always help to consult and attorney, but make sure it's a legit tenant attorney that has worked on these cases. Some advertise on this site. I can't say though that hiring a lawyer for a DHCR proceeding is cost effective. An alternative would be to go to court instead of DHCR.

Find out if any tenant before you filed with DHCR and the results of that. Also see if other tenants in the building have had similar experiences? And for now, keep your inquiries quiet. You don't want the LL to hear that you're sniffing around.
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Re: work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:53 am

PYC44BK wrote:My building was just sold & I'm worried about the new LL raising rent. This prompted me to review leases going back to Aug 2010 when my family moved in. As it turns out, we were 1st tenants to live in the apartment after deregulation. LL tacked on $515.90 3 years before we moved in, expediting its departure from the RS program. We have been paying preferential rent all these years, though. Do you think it's possible to get DHCR to review case even though it's been far longer than 4 years? Should we go to a lawyer to fight it? Should we talk to the new LL? We'd really like to stay and fear what the new rent will be. Thanks for any advice!

DETAILS - Our original lease from 8/2010 the legal rent was $2082.17, but preferential rent rider $1300. After looking at apt history from DHCR back to 1984 I found discrepancies. In 2007, an 18 year tenant moved out, and rent jumped from $964.10 to $1480.00 for next occupants. (They updated the kitchen cabinets, but there is no way this jump is justifiable.) Renters lived there a year 12/2007- 12/2008. Vacant 5 months, new tenants move in 5/2009. For this couple there is legal rent at $1716.80 and also introduction of preferential rent at $1350. They move out 5/2010, we move in 8/2010 with preferential rent, $1300 (less!). Our rent has increased but we still pay preferential rent.


I'm a bit confused - is the apartment still under RS (with a stabilized rent) or was it deregulated in 2010 when the legal rent went over $2k? You mention it being deregulated, but you also mention receiving a preferential rent. If it's deregulated, then there is no legal or preferential rent, there's just "rent."
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Re: work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:24 am

What's to confuse? The OP said they moved in 2010, the first family after deregulation.

But on the PR, yes, you're correct. While the LL may have discounted the rent, it's not a PR that's part of rent regulation. As you said, PR is a discount from the "legal rent stabilized rent," and may, depending on what was included in the lease, be ended with the payable rent going back up to the legal rent.
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Re: work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:11 pm

TenantNet wrote:What's to confuse? The OP said they moved in 2010, the first family after deregulation.

But on the PR, yes, you're correct. While the LL may have discounted the rent, it's not a PR that's part of rent regulation. As you said, PR is a discount from the "legal rent stabilized rent," and may, depending on what was included in the lease, be ended with the payable rent going back up to the legal rent.


That's just my point. If they're deregulated, then there is no preferential or legal rent. There's just the rent, which can be raised or lowered by any amount once the lease expires. What's unclear is the OP saying that "we still pay preferential rent."

My question would be, if they've been paying a market-based deregulated rent for the whole time they've been in the apartment, what makes them think that the new building owner will suddenly raise the rent? That would imply that the prior building owner had been charging less than he/she could have.
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Re: work around for DHCR 4yr limit for RS?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:52 pm

We're not confused, but perhaps the OP is as to the definition of PR. Or perhaps the LL is using the term incorrectly.
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