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Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

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

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Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri May 31, 2019 3:46 pm

A little over 3 years ago I filed an Administrative Determination case with DHCR because I believed my apartment was illegally regulated through fraudulent IAI claims. After a lot of work and patience (no lawyer, just me), I finally got the Rent Order yesterday from the Rent Administrator saying the apartment is indeed regulated, I've been overcharged for many years, the landlord owes me all overcharges since 2012 and the legal rent is 1/3 of what my current lease says.
Great news, but I am confident my landlord will petition for review through PAR. Im not terribly worried as I believe the appeals can only be based on factual or legal mistakes made, not on new evidence.
1. My lease should be up for renewal (and according to rent order remade to be regulated) on August 1. Tomorrow is June 1 and I have not received any paperwork. I have been told to continue paying my current inflated rent until the PAR is completed, but what do i doif the landlord doesnt give me the regulated lease? Do I sign a lease renewal of the inflated rent?
2. I was also told that I now need to file a seperate Rent Overcharge case. Do I do that now or do I have to wait until the PAR is complete?

Any help is much appreciated. I am leaving the country for work for a month and I would like to have things set up on my end so I dont miss anything important.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby TenantNet » Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm

It's hard to know without more details. At a minimum, I would send a copy to the LL by certified mail. Of course they get a copy from DHCR, but don't let them play the game they didn't know.

Does the order have an effective date? Did it set the date for the lease or renewal lease to start?
Does the order set the rent to a certain level?
Does the order award any damages?
Do you have an attorney on this?

Of course the LL might file a PAR, and if they do, then the retroactive part of the award is stayed until the PAR is decided (and any court appeals). I would see what the LL bills you. You can continue to pay the higher/illegal part and collect it back later. But if you withhold, then make absolutely certain you keep the difference in escrow.

If you are not satisfied with the results - even though you won - you can also file an appeal. on just that part of the order you don't like.

At this stage, I would start getting legal advice. Of course a lawyer will eat up your award, so depending on your ability to defend the award in your reply to the PAR, you can just get a consultation with an attorney.

Normally, without a regulated lease, your rent doesn't go up. Same here.

If he gives you a lease at the old/higher/illegal amount, you can sign and write "under protest" on the lease.

Or you can send it back to him with a letter that DHCR has issued the order and the new lease should reflect the order. In that situation, in my opinion, they sent you an illegal lease, the same as no lease, and the rent doesn't go up.

Who told you to keep paying the higher rent? Did they provide a rationale for that?
Who told you to file an overcharge? Wasn't that covered in the order itself? I would say the first thing is to wait for the LL to do something.

Make sure you have a trusted friend get your mail, scan it and email it to you wherever you will be.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri May 31, 2019 6:26 pm

Thanks. I havent made a move yet, figuring for the time being, at least, the order is in effect.
GOLES said to keep paying, which at this point I can do, my concern was really just the lease. Thank you for mentioning to write 'under protest'.

The language of the order said LL owes me overcharge, and if they dont aknowlege it, to file an overcharge. They said first lease, which is august 1 must reflect this, but again no lease offered even though i need 90 days. So at this point leaving next week, ill just come up with the rent for june and July to finish out the old inflated lease and keep record. I will be back by Aug 1 when new lease starts so ill see what i get. I guess sending a certified doc saying i am away for 30 days will at least cover me should anything happen. I just dont have the ability in the time frame to find a lawyer and get them up to date. No harm in waiting on the overcharge, just more overcharge to tack on.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri May 31, 2019 7:01 pm

Im just gonna simplify all that
1)the rent order says effective date is when it was issued, may 28th
2) it said the next lease renewal should be stabilized with the RAs determined anount in effect
3) I though a AD case covered RO, but the order said to file a RO if landlord didnt refund. Also i can only get yrebel damages through a RO, an AD just shows the legal rent.
4) the order doe ls say damages awarded 4 years prior to filing AD, so back to 2012 in this case. Ive been there since 2006.
5) awaiting attourney response but not expecting much since im leaving next week. Its the busiest time of year
GOLES told me if i can pay it, thats the easiest way to not screw up or get evicted through the PAR process. Actually dont think i can get evicted at this point.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby TenantNet » Fri May 31, 2019 8:14 pm

In a situation like this, it's more about strategy and what the LL does, or can do. That's why no one can give you an absolute answer.

I forgot to mention you should look at Section 2529.12 of the Rent Stab Code:

2529.12 Stays.

The filing of a PAR against an order, other than an order adjusting, fixing or establishing the legal regulated rent, shall stay such order until the final determination of the PAR by the commissioner. Notwithstanding the above, that portion of an order fixing a penalty pursuant to section 2526.1(a) of this Title, that portion of an order resulting in a retroactive rent abatement pursuant to section 2523.4 of this Title, that portion of an order resulting in a retroactive rent decrease pursuant to section 2522.3 of this Title, and that portion of an order resulting in a retroactive rent increase pursuant to section 2522.4(a)(2), (3), (b) and (c) of this Title, shall also be stayed by the timely filing of a PAR against such orders until the expiration of the period for seeking review pursuant to article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. However, an order granting a rent adjustment pursuant to section 2522.4(a)(2) of this Title, against which there is no PAR filed by a tenant that is pending, shall not be stayed. Nothing herein contained shall limit the commissioner from granting or vacating a stay under appropriate circumstances, on such terms and conditions as the commissioner may deem appropriate.
9 CRR-NY 2529.12
Current through March 15, 2019


So that's a lot to digest, and different people will parse it all out differently. Without really staring at the language of your order, I can't really say if this applies or not.

That's why it's good to get legal advice and err on caution. The latter reason may be why someone at GOLES told you to keep paying. Our thought is even if you decide to reduce your rent to start collecting the amount due you, you should keep an eagle eye on what the LL is doing or has done, check with DHCR after 35 days (better 50 days so any PAR can get registered) to see if any PAR has been filed, tell the landlord* that you are deducting the money in accordance with the order so he knows what and why you are doing and won't take you to court (they might anyway and in our view that would be harassment), and of course, keep the money in escrow so if it gets reversed, you would have it to pay back.**

* that is a debatable piece of advice, of course. Depends on the LL.
** can't stress this enough.

Depending on the LL, you might start thinking about a litigation strategy. Understand that DHCR has no balls in helping you enforce the order, and neither do the courts (mostly).

As for the lease, well yes, the filing of a PAR would stay the requirement to give you a lease. Again, look at 2529.12.

And if you think that gets crazy, just wait for when the LL files an Article 78 proceeding in NYS Supreme Court (the judicial review).

Whatever you do, do later rather than earlier, so you don't prompt the LL into doing anything while he still has time. If you wait for two months, then his time to file a PAR would have expired. So maybe this LL has horrible office skills and puts off filing a PAR, you don't want to do anything that would prompt him to do it earlier. Let sleeping dogs lie for the time being. That goes for my earlier advice to send him a letter. Wait on that as well.

And sure, wait on anything do to with the lease. Just wait.

You can sort out the lease issue later. Understand the LL may still think you are deregulated. So his not giving you a lease in his eyes is no big deal. There is no required time to offer a renewal to unregulated tenants. He may be planning to let the lease expire and then try to get you out. So again, have someone watching the place and your mail. (I would not even tell the LL you are gone for 30 days.)
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:08 am

Thanks for the options and insights. I feel a little more comfortable leaving now and looking for some legal help when i return next month. Just when i think im startimg to understand all this after 3 years, it continues to be ever more complex Always great help here! Many thanks!
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:26 pm

I wanted to follow up with this post, but I'm not sure if it needs to be a new post instead.
I am out of the country now for a month. As soon as I left, I got an email from my LL's management company saying that I was now deactivated from making online payments. This online payment system has been in place 1 year without a problem and has allowed me to always make prompted payments in full. I notified the management company of this issue immediately and they said they would get back to me... when they got back to me they said I need to make payments for a previous late fee.... to note this late fee suddenly showed up for the first time in 14 years and I have not paid it because my check copies show consitent payment dates for 14 years. Also I cant even make the payments because I cant access the payment portal.
Anyway I cant help but be a bit paranoid thinking my LL is strategically trying to find a way to screw me over by revoking my online payment. Being out of the country, I do not have a check and cannot sent a certified check for July rent. Additionally as I mentioned above, I still was not offered a lease renewal as of June 10 and my lease is up on July 31... The rent order in my favor was issued on May 24.
Should I be concerned. I dont know what else I"m supposed to do. I will be back in town in time before the end of the lease and can make a payment (albeit now late) when I return. I just dont want to make a misstep right now.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:48 pm

You said you were away for a month. Even if the LL took you to court today, nothing would really happen until you get back. So don't worry that much. They would have to serve you with a 3-day notice, then a Petition/Notice of Petition. That takes time.

I have also heard that some of the changes from the new rent laws in Albany may require a longer period, something like 15 or 17 days notice instead of 3 days. (don't hold me to those numbers).

Harassment? Of course it is.

For late fees, search the forum, plus also see viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7648

Are you saying the late fee was for something that happened 14 years ago? That is WAY beyond the 6-year statute of limitations. Even if shorter, you can claim it's not collectible, or waived (maybe).

No lease? Then rant can't go up. My LL has refused to give me a lease (at the legal rent) for a number of years and my rent has stayed the same. Normally that is good for the tenant, but it might depend on other factors in your situation.

I would wait until you're back in town and then send July's rent right away, by cert. mail. If they want to slap on late fees, they prevented you from making a payment. Also, do you even have a RS lease that allows for late fees?
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:56 pm

Thank you. I am just now reading up on the new laws... which I think go into effect Sunday. The late fee was charged 1 year ago, when I renewed my lease (pre rent stabilized order). I have just never been charged a fee in 14 years, so I havent paid it, and actually forgot it existed until they just told me.
Thank you for clarifying the issue with a non-renewal. The rent order states I MUST be offered a new RS lease at the end of my current one for x amount. So obviously he's just going with no lease. I just find it annoying that no one will give me a reason why I no longer am allowed to pay my current rent online. That's taking away a service that everyone else has access to purposely. At least its all documented.
Im going to enjoy the rest of my time away and celebrate the victory in Albany.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby TenantNet » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:16 pm

Sure, in my view, it's a service reduction (not only, but there is some case law as to legal tender, but don't have them right now). You can file a) failure to offer a lease, and b) service reduction. However, the LL could say it's not a service reduction as you can always write a check and mail the rent. So it would take more research.

BTW, the so-called "victory" in Albany is way overblown. Some good points, but a lot that tenants needed, but ignored. The groups that did the campaign are corrupt. One even took $1.5 million from a landlord/developer.
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Re: Rent Order says I'm stabilized! Next Steps

Postby flybyme03 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:53 pm

Well albany is still albany i suppose. Ive only heard things from afar this week, so no local feedback. Every time i want to get excited, there's always another layer to this. Well here hoping its at least better for aome people struggling.
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