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NYC Rent Stabilized Lease Renewal No Counter-Signed Document

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

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NYC Rent Stabilized Lease Renewal No Counter-Signed Document

Postby Nycpizza » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:50 am

Hi everyone,

I signed a lease renewal for apartment which is rent stabilized. My landlord did not return a counter-signed original and its been more than 30 days. Can I withdraw the renewal? I am planning on leaving the country. Any advice? I live in Manhattan
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Re: NYC Rent Stabilized Lease Renewal No Counter-Signed Docu

Postby TenantNet » Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:20 pm

A few questions...
- Are you the prime tenant named on the lease? Any other residents, co-tenants or roommates?

- Are you having other problems with the landlord, i.e., lack of services or repairs? Have you withheld rent for any reason?

- on the lease renewal, did you make a copy and return to the LL by certified mail, return receipt requested?

- have you asked the LL for the executed copy?

As for withdrawing the renewal, in general once a tenant signs and returns a lease offer for a RS apartment, it becomes a binding contract. That's to protect the tenant. Some sources even say it becomes binding when the LL sends the offer - even before the tenant accepts it.

Having said that, the law was changed in 2019 that requires a LL to mitigate his damages if a tenant leaves prior to the end of a lease. Prior to 2019, LLs could demand the tenant pay the rent for the remainder of the lease term.

The new law requires the LL to make a good-faith effort to re-rent the place. Normally that's not a problem in NYC, but with the current COVID-19 situation, it might be difficult to re-rent the place that quickly.

I would Google this "nys rpl 227-e mitigate"

In any lease or rental agreement, excluding any real estate purchase contract defined in paragraphs (a), (c) and (d) of subdivision four of section four hundred sixty-one of this chapter, covering premises occupied for dwelling purposes, if a tenant vacates a premises in violation of the terms of the lease, the landlord shall, in good faith and according to the landlord's resources and abilities, take reasonable and customary actions to rent the premises at fair market value or at the rate agreed to during the term of the tenancy, whichever is lower. If the landlord rents the premises at fair market value or at the rate agreed to during the term of the tenancy, the new tenant's lease shall, once in effect, terminate the previous tenant's lease and mitigate damages otherwise recoverable against the previous tenant because of such tenant's vacating the premises. The burden of proof shall be on the party seeking to recover damages. Any provision in a lease that exempts a landlord's duty to mitigate damages under this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.


Now even though this seems straightforward, things can get messy.

You might approach the LL and ask to be let out of the lease early. He might want to hold onto the deposit, and frankly, that might be a price worth paying to escape. Whatever agreement is made, make sure it is in writing with both sides signing, and I would have an attorney look it over. And of course, all other advice for leaving an apartment holds: leave it clean, take many photos, do a walk-through to identify damages, if any.
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Re: NYC Rent Stabilized Lease Renewal No Counter-Signed Docu

Postby Nycpizza » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:55 pm

Thank you for the reply. i will subscribe to the thread to make sure I do not miss a response. I am the only tenant on the lease and I did not have any issues with the landlord.

On the lease renewal, it may be worthwhile to mention that:
1. I did make a copy of it.
2. The offer to renew was sent to me via regular mail.
3. It was not signed by the landlord at that time.
4. I did not send it back by certified mail. Rather I dropped it off at the lobby.
5. On the first page of the rent stabilized lease renewal form it states "The form becomes a binding lease renewal when signed by the owner and returned to the tenant".
6. My original lease had the same type of language

I did ask the landlord for an executed copy, which was not provided until today via email. Prior that point I have already vacated the unit and have sent a letter via certified mail indicating that I am revoking my offer to renew the lease due to not receiving a counter-singed copy within 30 days. I vacated the unit a few days before the last day of my existing lease - not the renewal.

The landlord noted via email that I am to cancel - not sure why they are saying this, but I will not be responding to them right away perhaps only after getting legal council - then I will forego my security deposit and will be liable for two months rent as per the terms of the lease renewal.
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Re: NYC Rent Stabilized Lease Renewal No Counter-Signed Docu

Postby TenantNet » Sat May 09, 2020 5:48 am

For lease renewals, there is no law that requires it be sent (or your acceptance) be by certified mail. Nevertheless was always recommend - for renewals and other vital notices - be sent certified.

Some lease language requires notices to be certified. But whether that might obviate your acceptance of a renewal, I don't know.

You dropped your acceptance (signed?) at your lobby. Not a good way of doing things, seriously. But it might not matter.

#3 - not signed by the LL? In my mind, the LL offer must be signed; if not it might not comply with the provisions of the RSC. But it may be immaterial here.

#5 - many hold the opinion that it's binding when the tenant accepts the offer and one does not need the LL execution. But as with the above, it might not matter unless you want to get lawyers quibbling.

An original does not come by email. It must contain the original signatures of both parties, not copies. Also, it might not matter.

I can't say if your notice to the LL "revoking" the renewal has any legal weight. But you've already done it.

If the LL accepts it, great. Otherwise it might become an issue of mitigation.

"The landlord noted via email that I am to cancel " - what does that mean? It's not even a sentence? Maybe it means they got your notice. You could treat it as such.

Liable for two month's rent? I'm not even sure that is legal? That would undermine the requirements of RPL 227-e (see above) as to mitigation.

Our opinion is that is not enforceable and that you should NOT pay the two months. You can consult with a tenant attorney, but I can't see how any LL can force you to pay those two months. It simply violates the law in our opinion.

And if you have left the country, it would be difficult for the LL to collect.

But you might have to eat the deposit.
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