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Rent control possibly overcharged

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

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Rent control possibly overcharged

Postby Emgreene » Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:02 pm

My sister & I took over the family apartment which we have lived in continually after our parents died. We took in a roommate to help with the rent, the landlord is now charging a surcharge over the roommate, is this legal FYI we are both on the bill no lease
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Re: Rent control possibly overcharged

Postby TenantNet » Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:23 pm

First, are you sure it's rent controlled, or perhaps rent stabilized? Do you have a lease? Have you been getting the biennial MBR and annual MCR increases? Many - if not most - tenants who think they are RC are really RS.

When did your parents move in? Did the LL allow succession or was it contested? How long did you and/or your sister live in the unit before your parents passed?
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Re: Rent control possibly overcharged

Postby Emgreene » Fri Nov 06, 2020 12:28 pm

First, are you sure it's rent controlled, or perhaps rent stabilized? Do you have a lease? Have you been getting the biennial MBR and annual MCR increases? Many - if not most - tenants who think they are RC are really RS. Definitely rent control

When did your parents move in? Did the LL allow succession or was it contested? How long did you and/or your sister live in the unit before your parents passed?

Parents moved in approximately 1962
Except college for my sister continually since 1962

We had an lease but can’t find a copy
Succession yes both names on rent bill etc
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Re: Rent control possibly overcharged

Postby TenantNet » Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:47 pm

First, on forums, please apply quoting to quoted text and add responses below as unquoted material. I almost missed you "Definitely rent control" because of this.

So if your parent had the unit from 1962 and you and your sister had a lawful or unchallenged succession, then it appears you have a real RC unit. Most tenants confuse RC and RS. Also, most RC tenants do not have leases; they have what is known as a "statutory lease." At a certain point (in the 1960's) LLs stopped issuing leases to RC tenants.

Having said that, I would look hard for the original lease as for some issues, if not covered by RC/RS laws, would be covered (or unaddressed) by original leases.

Leaving the unit on a temporary basis - for example for college or military service - will not work against you.

As to the roommate, here are some looks at the issue:
https://www.rozenlawgroup.com/roommate-law
https://www.thespruce.com/new-york-room ... faq-156309
https://rentguidelinesboard.cityofnewyo ... roommates/

and

http://www.itkowitz.com/booklets/THERE- ... w-long.pdf
(this is from a landlord attorney)

Here's the one from this site:
http://www.tenant.net/alerts/articles/roommates.html

My first reaction to your post was that the LLs actions would be an overcahrge. But trom the Armentrout article:

If your apartment is subject to rent control the landlord has the right to add a 10% surcharge to your rent if you bring in a roommate. However, it would be permissible to pass that cost on to your roommate. This surcharge does not apply to rent-stabilized apartments.


However, I would check on the source of that statement. Is it based in language from the Rent Stabilization Code, or Rent Control regulations? Or is it based in the yearly orders issued by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB). If the latter, those orders change year-by-year and what might have been true when the article was written might not be true now. Also I would ask if the RGB has jurisdiction to issue orders as to how RC rents work.

Also, as the article advises, be careful not to charge the roommate a disproportionate rent (profiteering).

So how much is the LL charging? Is equal to one RGB percentage increase or 10%, that might be legal (or legal at the time the article was written).

How much does the LL know? Is he/she a savvy LL who knows the law, or just a small time LL who doesn't know very much? If the latter, you might be able to convince him/her that the charge is illegal.

Your question leaves out a lot and there are many ifs, and and buts here. So I can't give you a complete answer. You could consult with a tenant attorney and get a better sense of what is legal (and citations).

You can also contact the RGB to see if any of their orders contain directives applicable to RC units (other than FMRA). See https://rentguidelinesboard.cityofnewyo ... nes-board/
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