Jeff McAdams' Tenant Protection Tips
Challenge the landlord when you’re slapped for M.C.I.
Some landlords make improvements in their buildings and attempt to illegally pass on the costs to tenants. For those in rent-regulated units, your response should be, “Not so fast.” Strict rules govern the circumstances under which landlords are allowed to recoup expenses for building improvements with a rent increase. There are several considerations. First, ordinary maintenance doesn’t entitle the landlord to a rent increase. The work has to be a building-wide Major Capital Improvement (M.C.I.). All tenants must benefit from it, it has to be essential for the enhancement of the property, and it has to be depreciable. The owner must apply to the NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for approval. Tenants are allowed to review and comment on the application. The landlord’s request can be challenged if the work is of poor quality, is incomplete, if there is an outstanding rent reduction order, if the useful life of similar earlier work has not ended, or if the application wasn’t filed within two years of finishing improvements. This may also be a good opportunity for a rent strike.
Please Note: Every McAdams Law Tenant Protection Tip and article is for informational purposes only and cannot substitute for legal advice. Before taking action, consult an experienced New York Landlord Tenant attorney about your situation. Beware that being a party in a lawsuit in New York City’s Housing Court can subject you to blacklisting. Please see more details here.
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