Landlord v. Tenant: July 2018
Landlord Failed to Prove Pre-Base Date Preferential Rent
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund an overcharge. The DRA found that, since landlord failed to provide pre-base date rent history records to justify a preferential rent, the authenticity of the higher, legal regulated rent couldn't be confirmed. Landlord appealed and lost, claiming that the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC) required landlord to keep rent history records only for four years if an apartment was properly registered. But RSC Section 2526.1(a)(2)(viii) states that, for the purpose of establishing the existence of a preferential rent or its terms or conditions, the DHCR could request pre-base date rent history records going back more than four years.
- 91-95 East 18 Property LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. FT210045RO (3/22/18)
Landlord Didn't Submit Itemized Breakdown of IAI Costs
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. Landlord claimed that there was no overcharge and that it correctly charged tenant an individual apartment improvement (IAI) rent increase for new windows when tenant moved in. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund $450, including interest. Landlord appealed and lost. The DRA had asked landlord for an itemized cost breakdown to determine if the windows were repaired or replaced. Since landlord failed to provide the requested cost breakdown, the DRA correctly discounted the entire claimed IAI cost in determining the legal rent. Repair and maintenance costs aren't expenses that can count toward an IAI rent increase.
- 2129 Amsterdam Realty, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. FS410048RO (3/8/18)
RENT STABILIZATION COVERAGE
Corporate Tenant Wasn't Improperly Deregulated
Rent-stabilized tenant moved into an apartment in 1975. In 1996, landlord agreed to combine tenant's apartment with a vacant next-door apartment at tenant's expense and gave tenant a deregulated lease for the newly created apartment, even though the building was receiving J-51 tax benefits. In 2008, at tenant's request, landlord gave a renewal lease to tenant's corporate entity instead of to tenant. The renewal lease didn't identify tenant as a remaining tenant or name him as the intended occupant of the new corporate tenant. Tenant, now an occupant, and the corporate tenant later sued landlord, claiming improper deregulation of the apartment. The court denied landlord's request to dismiss the case.
Landlord appealed and won. Former tenant, now an occupant, wasn't entitled to a rent-stabilized lease renewal. And since occupant wasn't identified in the corporate tenant's lease as a particular individual for whom the apartment was rented, the corporate tenant wasn't entitled to rent-stabilization protection.
- Fox v. 12 East 88th LLC: 160 A.D.3d 401, 2018 NY Slip Op 02289 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 4/3/18)