A rental history can help you in several different ways. For one, it can help you determine if your apartment is rent-stabilized. It can also help you argue against outrageous rent increases, even if your apartment isn’t rent-stabilized

Seeing the history might also give you an idea of how often rent increases and by how much, which can help you plan for the future.

Finally, rental histories may be used to re-stabilize previously rent-stabilized apartments. You can also receive a refund for all the overpaid rent, plus interest. 

What is rent stabilization?

A rent-stabilized apartment is an apartment that offers legal protections on how much rent may be increased and how often. 

Most rent-stabilized apartments are privately owned apartments built before the year 1974, with at least six units. 

Often, landlords claim apartments are not rent-stabilized when they really are. This is where getting your rental history comes in handy. 

How do I request my rental history?

It’s easy to get your rental history. You just fill out a form with Homes and Community Renewal. You can find the form at this link.

Sometimes, HCR might not have a copy of your rent history. This would mean the apartment is probably not rent-stabilized. However, it could also mean your landlord never properly reported it. 

A failure to register a rent-stabilized apartment is a crime, and a real estate lawyer like me can help you if this proves to be true in your case. 

Understanding your rental history can be difficult. The non-profit organization JustFix.Org offers one helpful guide. You can also bring your rental history to a meeting with a tenant’s rights attorney and get them to look it over. 

What should I do if I’ve been overcharged? 

If you’ve been overcharged, you can file a complaint with DHCR, but at that point, it’s usually better to get a lawyer and to have the lawyer file a complaint on your behalf. Landlords aren’t just going to roll over and lower your rent, nor are they happily going to pay what could be years, or even decades, of overcharges. 

You can expect them to fight you, and you need to be prepared to fight back and to take the right legal steps fast enough to make a difference.

The rent is too high for most of us. If you think your landlord is skirting the law, contact McAdams Law for help today.

See also:

What to Do If Your New York Landlord Won’t Make Repairs 

Are You Eligible for a NYC Rent Freeze?

When Can You Seek a Rent Reduction in New York City?

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