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Old 05-21-2013, 01:24 AM
 
4 posts, read 26,184 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi!

I moved into a rent-stabilized apartment last year and just received the annual apartment registration form.

This form specifies a "legal regulated rent" of (placeholder figure), $2,400 / mo.
I currently pay what is specified as the "preferential rent" of (placeholder figure) $1,900 / mo.

The difference in the rents is accurate.

I took a look at the stabilization FAQ's, as my lease does NOT mention anything about a regulated v. preferential rent. It simply states "rent", with the preferential rent amount written in that box. Nor are there any clauses in the lease about "legal regulated rent" or "preferential rent" and they didn't have me sign any additional notices (I would have kept copies) about this.

According to the information I've been able to find, this means that the landlord MAY at any point (upon lease renewal) charge the legal regulated rent amount, due to the fact that they don't state that they're charging me the preferential rent.

I'm already planning on getting the rental history for my apartment from the office that holds that information.

By way of additional background, I'm friendly with other tenants, one of whom has lived in the property for 7 years and has verbally told me that their rent has only increased by about $200 total over those years, and another that has lived in the building for 30+ years, and still sees only modest rental increases (max % allowed). In addition, the apartment the floor below mine but with a similar layout just rented (vacancy lease) for $25 more than my current rent amount 3 months ago.

What, if any, are my legal rights in this situation? Is it possible to, at the point of lease renewal, get the landlord to explicitly add a clause that allows me to officially be charged the preferential rent (plus applicable increases) instead of market rate for the remainder of my tenancy? Should I not mention it since history seems to show that the landlord only modestly increases rents despite what the legal regulated rent amount may allow?

I pay on time, make minimal requests for repairs, and have a positive relationship with the landlord overall... and I really don't want to move because I love the apartment!
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
9,238 posts, read 23,966,138 times
Reputation: 7748
Quote:
Originally Posted by nygal33456 View Post
Hi!

I moved into a rent-stabilized apartment last year and just received the annual apartment registration form.

This form specifies a "legal regulated rent" of (placeholder figure), $2,400 / mo.
I currently pay what is specified as the "preferential rent" of (placeholder figure) $1,900 / mo.

The difference in the rents is accurate.

I took a look at the stabilization FAQ's, as my lease does NOT mention anything about a regulated v. preferential rent. It simply states "rent", with the preferential rent amount written in that box. Nor are there any clauses in the lease about "legal regulated rent" or "preferential rent" and they didn't have me sign any additional notices (I would have kept copies) about this.

According to the information I've been able to find, this means that the landlord MAY at any point (upon lease renewal) charge the legal regulated rent amount, due to the fact that they don't state that they're charging me the preferential rent.

I'm already planning on getting the rental history for my apartment from the office that holds that information.

By way of additional background, I'm friendly with other tenants, one of whom has lived in the property for 7 years and has verbally told me that their rent has only increased by about $200 total over those years, and another that has lived in the building for 30+ years, and still sees only modest rental increases (max % allowed). In addition, the apartment the floor below mine but with a similar layout just rented (vacancy lease) for $25 more than my current rent amount 3 months ago.

What, if any, are my legal rights in this situation? Is it possible to, at the point of lease renewal, get the landlord to explicitly add a clause that allows me to officially be charged the preferential rent (plus applicable increases) instead of market rate for the remainder of my tenancy? Should I not mention it since history seems to show that the landlord only modestly increases rents despite what the legal regulated rent amount may allow?

I pay on time, make minimal requests for repairs, and have a positive relationship with the landlord overall... and I really don't want to move because I love the apartment!
No,you don't have a chance at all.No landlord is going to sign away their right to charge the maximum legal rent if market circumstances change and make that possible.Your landlord would also be devaluing his property by agreeing to do such a thing.It isn't going to happen.Just be happy with what you've got.

P.S. Sounds like you are already headed down the path of souring the relationship with your landlord.I'm sure he will be thrilled when he sees that you have filed to get the rent history of the apartment.That in itself could trigger the end of the preferential rent.

Last edited by bluedog2; 05-21-2013 at 06:59 AM..
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
25,341 posts, read 36,827,738 times
Reputation: 12729
Do NOT ask the landlord to change the lease...he will not.

You told us the INCREASES your neighboring rent stabilized tenants were hit with but more informative will be the actual rents they pay. For example, if most apartments pay around the $1500 mark then odds are good all is honest. BUT if most tenants are paying HALF of what you are paying and your apartment does not have brand new EVERYTHING (capital improvements,) the odds are good that he is playing fast and loose with you and the new move in. Odds are good you are being cheated.

You will hopefully know what the "legal rent" actually is IF DHCR doesn't hit you with their crooked boilerplate response: "Sorry, we have no rent history on that apartment." <That should come with a "wink wink, nudge nudge.">

DHCR seems intent on dismantling the Rent Stabilization law illegally and there is little anyone but the governor or some prison terms can do about it.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:52 AM
 
1,431 posts, read 2,606,281 times
Reputation: 1199
From the DHCR's fact sheet on preferential rents:

" However, the rent laws impose a condition on an owner's right to charge the claimed legal regulated rent. The legal regulated rent must have been written in the vacancy or renewal lease in which the preferential rent was first charged. Registration with DHCR of the legal regulated rent by itself will not establish the legal regulated rent for future usage"

In other words, you have it backwards--the fact that the landlord didn't say anything in the lease about the preferential vs. legal rent means that he CANNOT charge you the legal rent upon renewal.

I would say nothing unless your landlord actually tries to charge you the legal rent. FWIW, I've known multiple people in your situation--except their landlords DID include the preferential and legal rents in the lease in order to preserve their right to charge the legal rent--and none has ever suddenly been hit with the legal rent.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
25,341 posts, read 36,827,738 times
Reputation: 12729
nygal,
See if you can root out the previous tenant and talk to him. Ask if anyone in the building knows what he was paying. I'll BET his last lease didn't have that "preferential vs. legal" nonsense in it. Ask if older tenants have the differentiation in THEIR leases.

Document everything you do in case you wind up in front of a judge.

<In other administrations the DHCR did all the work for you. Since they were handed over to the landlords by the current administration, you must fight the battles yourself.>
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:06 AM
 
4 posts, read 26,184 times
Reputation: 11
Bluedog - thanks for the advice about getting the rent history, it wasn't mentioned anywhere that the landlord could see that activity, which is good to know. I wouldn't exactly say that I'm "headed down a path of souring my relationship" with my landlord by asking a question on a forum about how to handle a situation, though.

Kefir King - my rent is $25 less than a comparable apartment a floor below mine (new tenant 3 mos ago). It is probably about $1200 MORE than the woman who lives on my floor and has been here 30 years. The 1st floor 1 br apartment rents for about $900 more than mine, and has about 2x the sq footage. I believe that my rent is comparable.

I do actually know what the previous tenant paid, which is $35 less than I'm currently paying. They only lived in the apartment for a year and a half before breaking their lease, and their first year's rent was only increased by $15 upon renewal.

Binx - I went back and double-checked the fact sheet (serves me right for reading it at 2am) and I believe you're right. I'm close with my downstairs neighbor who has been here for almost a decade so I'm also asking them about their experiences with this.

Thanks for the helpful advice!
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
25,341 posts, read 36,827,738 times
Reputation: 12729
nygal,

I am very curious what the DHCR determination will be. Please let us know.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:59 PM
 
4 posts, read 26,184 times
Reputation: 11
Will do. I asked my downstairs neighbor to check their lease, and they actually suggested I call the landlord and ask about the form.

Apparently they did when they first moved in the landlord told them that was just the amount they were "able to charge", but told them not to worry about it and they said their rent has never increased more than $50/yr (they pay about 1k more than I do for their apt than I do - the inc. is in line with the % increases outlined by the regulatory board).

asked them to check their statement and let me know if their lease has the clause, as well. I'll report back!
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:38 AM
 
Location: New York City
19,061 posts, read 12,598,743 times
Reputation: 14781
I had a stabilized apartment in Gramercy 5 years ago with a preferential rent of $1250. It was a teeny one bedroom apartment that realistically was smaller than a normal studio. A REIT bought the three buildings and upon our first lease renewal jacked up the price to $1800, because as I found out, the legal rent is actually what they can and will charge if they want to
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
25,341 posts, read 36,827,738 times
Reputation: 12729
Quote:

the legal rent is actually what they can and will charge if they want to
But what the really, ACTUALLY charge is usually the MADE-UP RENT.
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