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Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

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

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Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

Postby Ridgewick » Mon May 04, 2020 5:49 pm

Hello everyone!
Hope ya'll staying safe at these times.
I'm hoping to find some advice from experienced folks about my RS issues.
So I requested my rent history and my apartment had been RS up until 2016 when the lease was bought out (probably) and the apartment underwent some IAI. The LL put it on the market for 2700$ (I found the archived listing on Zillow) but was never able to actually rent it out because the asking price was too high and the renovation wasn't that good. 2700$ is too much to ask even now 4 years on.
So the listing was removed and the LL reported to DHCR their mother as the tenant at 2700$. And from then on the rent kept going higher and higher, reaching a whopping 3100$ on the reports sent to DCHR by now. Which is an unrealistic price tag for the place.
Needless to say, the respected mother has never actually lived in the apartment and the neighbors (some with 20+ years of history with the building) never seen her. This was confirmed with NYPD.
I was told that IAI on top of a 20% vacancy increase would be able to get the apartment to deregulated level.
But my point is: there has never been a real deregulated tenant in place because the 2700$ threshold was too high. And I highly doubt that rent payments have ever been actually collected from the mother (the owner is a company so the rent has to be reflected on the books and there have to be corresponding financial transactions - cash deposited, canceled checks or wire transfers from the 'tenant').

According to your experience, has this apartment been legally deregulated?
What are my chances to win the case?
Thank you in advance.

PS 1: There has been severe tenant harassment by the landlord.
PS 2: I did file Rent overcharge/Failure to renew the lease with DHCR, but I was told it will take forever.
Ridgewick
 
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Re: Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

Postby TenantNet » Wed May 06, 2020 12:16 pm

Have you gotten an estimate of the amount of money actually spent on the IAI? DHCR does not check or verify IAI unless a tenant complains. With the new law, you might be within the lookback period. Also look for evidence of fraud, another way to kick out LL's IAI.

His mother as the tenant? Have you talked to the next-door neighbors? That's obvious fraud, but you need to support it.

The NYPD would not know who is or is not living in any unit.

Check the text of the RGB orders (I think that is where the pertinent text is). If you calculate the IAI on top of the rent, then add any vacancy increase, you will get one result. If you calculate the vacancy increase, then add the IAI, you will get a different result. I remember a case like that from back around 1983. If it makes a difference, let us know.

Has the unit itself actually been empty aside from the claim of the mother living there? If so, I don't think the rent can legally go up. That's just my gut feeling and I don't have any cites I can readily point to. But that's because rent increases are "pursuant to a lease."

I would consult with a tenant attorney who deals with these situations in housing court. Getting a case assessment is one thing; you would also need to devise a winning strategy.

Failure to renew - I've seen DHCR turn these around in a year, but it probably depends on the facts of the complaint, and now with COVID - that could take a very long time.
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Re: Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

Postby Ridgewick » Wed May 06, 2020 6:01 pm

Thank you for your answer.

"Have you gotten an estimate of the amount of money actually spent on the IAI?"
- no, I haven't. And I don't know where to get it aside from a request for evidence in court.


It depends if you go to court, or DHCR. You would look for an expert. If the LL claims they spend $30,000, but it's obvious the actual spending was less than that ... WAY less than that, well that's an issue.

'
His mother as the tenant? Have you talked to the next-door neighbors? That's obvious fraud, but you need to support it."

Yes, the company owns several buildings and they put the member's mother as a tenant.
I did check with other tenants and no one knows her.
-


Wait, they put the same person on as a tenant in several apartments in several buildings? That's pretty obvious.

BTW, LLs who are corporations cannot use family members on for applications for personal use. But for other purposes, I don't know.

The NYPD would not know who is or is not living in any unit.
- well the LL admitted mother didn't live there while getting the LL was getting arrested for breaking in. So police has it on the body camera.


I don't think that that proves much. Still, do you have a copy pf that tape? You need to check with a lawyer on chain of evidence and if it can be introduced as evidence.

Has the unit itself actually been empty aside from the claim of the mother living there? If so, I don't think the rent can legally go up.

According to DHCR records the fake tenant has been renting the place ever since. Even after I moved.I know for fact the place was used for AirBnB and there was a permanent tenant only for one of the rooms. He moved out before I moved in and became a sole tenant.


DHCR records? Do you mean the yearly registration?

One of the rooms? What does that mean? Were they renting individual rooms out? If so, that would be an illegal. See https://www.brickunderground.com/rent/c ... dual-rooms

I would consult with a tenant attorney who deals with these situations in housing court. Getting a case assessment is one thing; you would also need to devise a winning strategy.

I spoke with 2 actually. One sounded like fraud and pushed for a retainer not even looking into details. The second one told me the IAI (we don't know the amount the LL has proof for) most likely destabilized the place.


I can't comment too much on that. Some of the attorneys are our advertisers. And as private attorneys, part of what they do is ask for retainers. That is how it works. If you're going to go forward, just make sure any attorney you use is known and credible.

But my understanding is that IAI alone isn't enough to destabilize an apartment. The LL would have to find a tenant willing to pay at the 2700$ or more to make the place destabilized. And the rent has to be collected otherwise the Lease is a fraud. There is no way she actually paid, especially at a price higher than the market.


The IAI would have been for high rent deregulation. The NYS Court of Appeals in Altman v. 285 W. Fourth LLC, 31 NY3d 178 (2018) basically said deregulation can occur prior to the previous tenant's vacatur ... as stupid as that sounds. I think your understanding is incorrect.

Still, if no rent was paid, there might be a basis there.
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Re: Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

Postby TenantNet » Sun May 10, 2020 9:49 pm

I'm a little confused here. Seems all the comments I made are now in a post ostensibly authored by you. And the latest from you is now missing.
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Re: Is my apartment rent-stabilized?

Postby Ridgewick » Mon May 11, 2020 2:09 pm

Yes, I just noticed.
It should be vise versa. I must have quoted you wrongly. Although I didn't know one could do it wrong. Weird.
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