Under New York City municipal law, certain apartment complexes are governed by regulations limiting the amount the property owner may charge for rent. Since the beginning of these laws, though, landlords have looked for strategies to charge leasees more than the controls allow.
If you feel you are being overcharged for rent under the terms of rent controls for your building in New York City, call me, tenants' rights attorney Jeff McAdams on Broadway, in downtown Manhattan. I have been fighting on the side of tenants in New York City for nearly 30 years, with a successful record of results. Over the years, I have earned recognition as one of the city's pre-eminent lawyers in the area of landlord-tenant law.
Jeffrey McAdams will Fight for Your Rights
Your landlord isn't going to tell you about the overcharges. In fact, many renters in New York pay above the rent controlled amount for years, either without knowing or afraid of eviction if they challenge their landlord.
Your landlord's greatest advantage is making sure nobody in your building muddies the waters. I'm not afraid to make waves on our behalf.
I am ready to be the active voice you need for challenging the amount of rent you are paying, while protecting you from false grounds for eviction.
Briefly, these are the more frequent violations to look for if you believe you might have been overcharged:
- The "Four-Year Escape": There is a rule that says landlords only have to keep records for four years. Simply by letting four years go by, without filing the required annual rent registrations, some landlords have been able to argue that the next rent they charge after such a hiatus automatically becomes the legal regulated rent. In a number of cases in which the rent exceeded the "high rent" threshold (formerly $2,000, as of 2016, reaching $2,700), landlords have been able to deregulate units. Fortunately, the four-year "statute of limitations" does not apply to the status of whether or not apartments are rent-stabilized. In several cases, McAdams Law has been able to get back rent stabilization coverage for apartments – in one instance, even after more than 30 years.
- Illusory Tenancy: In these circumstances, landlords collude with accomplices to create subtenancies at inflated rents. Using intermediaries, they increase rates and rent apartments to unwitting victims at what seem like legal amounts. Illusory tenancies can be complex and difficult to investigate. You'd be best served by getting a tenant's lawyer to assist you if you are caught in the net of a landlord's illusory tenancy.
- Inflated Renovation Costs: Landlords sometimes pump up the actual costs of improvements when renovating vacant apartments. Based on these costs, if the "allowable" increase results in rents exceeding $2,7 00 monthly for vacant units, they can be deregulated and escape rent stabilization. If you're charged a nonregulated, market-rate rent, based on living in an apartment that was newly renovated when you moved in, looking into the unit's history might uncover rights you could be entitled to under rent stabilization. These could include triple damages for overcharging and the ongoing security of a renewable lease.
- Apartments That Should Be Rent Stabilized But Aren't: Aside from situations that involve renovated units with inflated costs, it's possible to have apartments in which the landlord blatantly ignores the Rent Stabilization Code and charges market rates anyway. For example, there have been instances in which tenants discovered that they were entitled to rent-stabilized protections because their landlords accepted tax benefits for investments in their buildings, though they weren't offered rent-regulated leases. You might be in a similar situation. Investigation can reveal whether your landlord accepted tax benefits and was supposed to provide rent-stabilized tenancies as part of the arrangement.
- Security Deposit Overcharges: The maximum security deposit on a rent-stabilized apartment is one month's rent. If you live in a stabilized unit and have been required to pay more than that, you probably have been overcharged.
Up To Triple Damages If You Prove Your Overcharge Claim
Courts take violations of the Rent Stabilization Code seriously and can subject landlords to severe penalties. Your landlord can be ordered to pay you back triple the amount you've been overcharged.
If you believe your landlord has overcharged you, or that you may be entitled to rent-stabilized protections even though your landlord says the unit is unregulated, you owe it to yourself to find out more about what rights you may have.
Contact An Experienced Landlord-Tenant Attorney
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I offer a free phone consultation to discuss your case and explain your legal options for fighting rent overcharges. If you retain my law firm, you will have an aggressive tenant defense attorney on your side, with a proven record of results.
Call my office on Broadway at 212-257-9425 or send an email requesting a return call to discuss your circumstances. Deutsch wird hier auch gesprochen.