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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Landlord Never Registered Rent Controlled Apartment with DHCR

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of New York:

    I live in my apartment in Brooklyn, NY with my grandparents since 1983. My grandparents originally moved into this apartment in or around 1948. After my grandparents passed away I continue to live there. The building was sold at the end of 2002. The new landlord raised my rent immediately to almost 3x the amount I was originally paying for rent. Each year the landlord kept raising my rent. In Nov 2007, I withheld rent because of poor living conditions & lack of repairs but the landlord tried to evict me by filing with the Housing Court for lack of rent payment. When speaking to my lawyer he informed me that my apartment falls under rent control law. So I filed a counterclaim that my apartment was rent controlled and for rent overcharges. In 2009, the judge ruled that my apartment actually did fall under the rent control law. The rent overcharge was severed due to no maximum base rent has ever been established for the subject apartment, and this function would best be served by the expertise of DHCR. We are now in 2012 and my landlord still has not registered my apartment with DHCR. I have called my landlord and spoke to him in person asking him what my rent is and he said $900. I told him I was only going to pay the legal rent control amount ordered by DHCR. I went to the DHCR office many times, and they informed me that the landlord is the only person who can register my apartment with them as rent control. In April 2012, I finally got a letter from the DHCR regarding my landlord filing Section 2202.22 of the NYC Rent and Eviction Regulations and /or Section 2522.6 of Rent Stabilization Code. I responded to that letter. Now received another letter from DHCR asking for more information on my succession rights. I sent them once again my court papers, drivers license, old mail, school records and proof of relation to my grandparents. I'm currently waiting on a response from DHCR.

    So my questions are: I have not paid my landlord rent since Nov. 2007 nor even know what my rent is going to be.I want to pay him the legal rent and want to continue to live in my apartment with my family. I am wondering, once I find out the legal rent from DHCR, can I still get my rent overcharge? And can my landlord sued me for back rent for the past 5 years?

    Also my landlord is embarrassing my wife and I, by telling to the other tenants and repair men in the building that we don't pay rent and he wants us out. One tenant also informed me that the landlord offered her a good amount of money and my apartment, if she can persuade me in leaving.

    Can someone help me, please?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Landlord Never Registered Rent Controlled Apartment with DHCR

    You state that you got a judgment back in 2009, which you either have or have not collected. If you have not collected that judgment, you can seek to collect it.

    It's quite possible that your landlord is going to want rent for the past five years. The issue was never that you would get a free unit - just that the rent would be assessed at the correct level.

    Your landlord has said, "we don't pay rent", and you have indicated that to be true. Your landlord has said "he wants us out", and I think we all accept that as true. Your landlord wants a neighbor to politely talk you into moving out, and offered a reward if she succeeds? Nothing is wrong with that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Landlord Never Registered Rent Controlled Apartment with DHCR

    I am a NYC real estate investor, and I have through the yeas looked at investment properties that has "rent controlled" units in then, rather than the more current "rent stabilized" ones. In a few cases, the rental started at or around when rent control got started, which is during and after "World War II".

    Because rent controlled units has allowed little or no increases through the years, the rent base and the increases were based originally on it's WWII rental rates. The last such unit I looked at a few years back, a 2BR apartment, had an approved rental of about $50.00/month, with others running less than $100.00. YES, I said FIFTY, not $150 or $250. As LL, the expenses for a rental unit per month alone runs over $200 for taxes, heating insurance etc. This last unit I looked at was in Sunnyside, Queens NY.

    Of these units I looked at, the landlords had usually NOT bothered to collect rent, or file for rent increases, or ANY PAPERWORK for that matter. The reason is the increases run 1% to 2% a year at most at a time, so if the landlord filed paperwork for increases on the lady paying $50.00, the rent would increase from $50.00 to about $50.50. So if he didn't bother to file the paperwork, the allowed rent would stay at $50.00.

    If you were to guess why the rent wan't paid at the building I looked at, it was a rent dispute. Indeed, the owner rather sell the building, and have someone else deal with the headache. And if no paperwork was ever filed, someone has to dig out the original lease from 1948, or figure out what data the city has on it. Anyone doing all this for FIFTY CENTS certainly has too much time on his hands, or too much money on hand if he spends it on a lawyer.

    I was a businessman at the time, I had other businesses beside rentals to run, and I cannot justify filing reams of paperwork for FIFTY CENTS a month. This property I looked at had two apartments over 6 stores, and the corner store alone pays about $2,000/month for a restaurant, and the other apartment at the time was renting for about $900.00 before it became vacant. I don't know how many other rental units the owner your building has, I myself wouldn't be bothering to even file paperwork for a FIFTY CENT a month increase, or even bother with you over a measely $50.00 trying to collect it.

    In many parts of Brooklyn, owners with too many such units in a building just walked away, and let the city take over. The fact that this LL hasn't done so indicates to me he has other paying units, not going bankrupt because of you and doesn't need to hassle with you over $50.00.

    Basically, you have him over a barrel, because it does not pay for him to hire lawyers to collect the LEGITIMATE RENT you owe him which comes to about $50.00 per month, or $100.00 at the most.

    However, if I were you, I would check with an attorney on succession rights, because in the last revision of the rent control laws around 1972, relatives such as children and grandchildren still has succession rights but this right only runs once, meaning in the future, your children would not be able to inherit and enjoy a rent free apartment. Based on my knowledge of succession rights, it would appear you are OK, with you living rent free for so many years being an indication.

    But to play it completely safe, it might pay for YOU to figure out what the legitimate rent is, and pay rent ot a lawyer to a rent escrow account.
    Botttomline is a rental starting from WWII at rent controlled prices cannot run $900.00, from what I have seen.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Landlord Never Registered Rent Controlled Apartment with DHCR

    Thank you Mr. Knowitall & SChinFChin for replying to my post. Your info was really helpful.

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