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Old 06-26-2013, 03:03 PM
 
4 posts, read 8,606 times
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Hello fellow NYC renters! I'm new to this forum and thought I'd come here for some advice. My roommate and I put in an application for a decently priced railroad apartment in a rent-stabilized building. The broker showed us the first floor unit and warned that it would probably be snapped up, but that an apt on the third floor would be available. He insisted it was an even "better" deal because it was being renovated. Well, after we put in an application and fee (and passed with flying colors) the landlord threatened to jack the rent up $225. Because the building is rent-stabilized, he was unable to do so, and only raised it $50. This feels like consumer fraud to me, but since it was only $25 a month more per person, I didn't protest.

Now the broker informs me the landlord wants two months worth of rent for a security deposit. After doing some research, I discovered that this is illegal for rent-stabilized buildings. A landlord cannot demand more than 1 months rent, and 1 months security. The broker claims the landlord is doing this because my roommate and I are students and don't have enough credit established (we are using our parents as guarantors). He then insisted that everyone else in the building paid 2 months worth of rent for security. I spoke to a woman at the DHCR, and she informed me that no matter what, a landlord cannot ask for more than 1 months’ rent security in a rent-stabilized building. The Met Council on Housing also insists the same thing, and that tenants are eligible to file a Form RA-89 with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

The broker “claims” he's never heard of such a law in all his life, even though he’s been in the business for 9 years. I have difficulty believing him.

After all is said and done, this really feels like a bait and switch to me. We haven’t signed a lease yet, and I’m wary to go along with this. I’m not sure I want to have this guy as a landlord anyway. Do you think I should walk away from a landlord who’s playing mind games, or just go along with it? Is this completely normal for NYC? Are rent-stabilized laws completely bypassed all the time?

Last edited by Megzi; 06-26-2013 at 03:16 PM..
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:11 PM
 
12,120 posts, read 29,883,145 times
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a rent stabilized lease would have the laws printed on every section of the application including the part where the security deposit and first months rent is listed

normally on a rent stabilized apartment you pay the first month's rent(the month that the lease starts) and one month of security but no more than one month's security. they cannot ask for more on a rent stabilized apartment

maybe the broker is just calling it an extra month's security for the landlord when his real intention is to jack up the brokers fee?

btw if you decide to back out you are entitled to your brokers fee refunded less a $15 administrative fee
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,830 posts, read 21,381,039 times
Reputation: 6882
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
Hello fellow NYC renters! I'm new to this forum and thought I'd come here for some advice. My roommate and I put in an application for a decently priced railroad apartment in a rent-stabilized building. The broker showed us the first floor unit and warned that it would probably be snapped up, but that an apt on the third floor would be available. He insisted it was an even "better" deal because it was being renovated. Well, after we put in an application and fee (and passed with flying colors) the landlord threatened to jack the rent up $225. Because the building is rent-stabilized, he was unable to do so, and only raised it $50. This feels like consumer fraud to me, but since it was only $25 a month more per person, I didn't protest.

Now the broker informs me the landlord wants two months worth of rent for a security deposit. After doing some research, I discovered that this is illegal for rent-stabilized buildings. A landlord cannot demand more than 1 months rent, and 1 months security. The broker claims the landlord is doing this because my roommate and I are students and don't have enough credit established (we are using our parents as guarantors). He then insisted that everyone else in the building paid 2 months worth of rent for security. I spoke to a woman at the DHCR, and she informed me that no matter what, a landlord cannot ask for more than 1 months’ rent security in a rent-stabilized building. The Met Council on Housing also insists the same thing, and that tenants are eligible to file a Form RA-89 with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

The broker “claims” he's never heard of such a law in all his life, even though he’s been in the business for 9 years. I have difficulty believing him.

After all is said and done, this really feels like a bait and switch to me. We haven’t signed a lease yet, and I’m wary to go along with this. I’m not sure I want to have this guy as a landlord anyway. Do you think I should walk away from a landlord who’s playing mind games, or just go along with it? Is this completely normal for NYC? Are rent-stabilized laws completely bypassed all the time?
It really just depends on whether you want the apartment.If you do,you'll pay.Otherwise you probably won't get it.If you don't care,walk.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:17 PM
 
4 posts, read 8,606 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlrl View Post
a rent stabilized lease would have the laws printed on every section of the application including the part where the security deposit and first months rent is listed

normally on a rent stabilized apartment you pay the first month's rent(the month that the lease starts) and one month of security but no more than one month's security. they cannot ask for more on a rent stabilized apartment

maybe the broker is just calling it an extra month's security for the landlord when his real intention is to jack up the brokers fee?

btw if you decide to back out you are entitled to your brokers fee refunded less a $15 administrative fee
Originally, the broker's fee was $1750, but he put it down to one month's rent. If he was secretly trying to get nearly twice that amount ($3,000!) that would be ridiculous. Does this happen?

What you stated about not legally being able to ask for more on a rent stabilized building is what I thought. When I told the broker this, he acted so "surprised" and said he had never heard of such a thing before, and rents to people all the time with rent stabilized buildings where they ask more than 1 month security, and 1 month rent.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:41 PM
 
12,120 posts, read 29,883,145 times
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they cannot charge you more than 1 month security for a rent stabilized apartment. simple as that. i have no idea why the brokers don't know that.

the tricky part might be in the term "one month's rent". in a rent stabilized bldg you pay one month security and the first month's rent like you would anywhere. i don't know what "one month's rent" means. maybe the broker is just calling it an extra month's rent, and he will collect that as his fee and you will be charged only one months security and the first month's rent on the application to keep it legal, but you need someone with legal know how who can clarify this. makes no sense.

maybe you could call the atty general's office and ask them to clarify this. it doesn't sound worth pursuing since it sounds so convoluted. why not just find a rent stabilized bldg with no broker. i did that and it worked out just fine
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:17 PM
 
Location: West Harlem
6,885 posts, read 8,697,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
Are rent-stabilized laws completely bypassed all the time?
Yes.

Advice - do or say what you need to in order to get the apartment.
Then, file complaints.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn New York
16,174 posts, read 26,740,819 times
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you didn't even move in and your having problems.


just what a LL needs a problem tenant before the tenant even moves in
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,913 posts, read 27,619,144 times
Reputation: 7082
Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
He insisted it was an even "better" deal because it was being renovated. Well, after we put in an application and fee (and passed with flying colors) the landlord threatened to jack the rent up $225. Because the building is rent-stabilized, he was unable to do so, and only raised it $50. This feels like consumer fraud to me, but since it was only $25 a month more per person, I didn't protest.
There is a statutory vacancy increase that can be applied; and, depending upon the number of units, the value of improvements can be added to the cost of the rent, 1/60th the value with over 35 units and 1/40th the value if less than 35 units in a stabilized building. The $225 increase could be perfectly legitimate, factoring vacancy increase and the actual value of improvements for which receipts are on-hand and maintained. For a one-year lease, the vacancy increase is 18%, and for a two-year lease, 20%. If one assumes a $1000/month stabilized rent, the vacancy increase would be $180 for a one-year lease, and $200 on a two-year lease, bringing the base rent to $1180 or $1200. That's not even factoring the value of improvements in the renovation, so it's not consumer fraud in the least, since the original increase is easily within the realm of legitimate value. So, with only a $50 increase, that would be a deal. If the landlord spent $5k on improvements, that can be added as well, $125 if less than 35 units, and $83 with more than 35 units. It is certainly possible to have a $225 increase in a stabilized building.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
Now the broker informs me the landlord wants two months worth of rent for a security deposit. After doing some research, I discovered that this is illegal for rent-stabilized buildings. A landlord cannot demand more than 1 months rent, and 1 months security. The broker claims the landlord is doing this because my roommate and I are students and don't have enough credit established (we are using our parents as guarantors). He then insisted that everyone else in the building paid 2 months worth of rent for security. I spoke to a woman at the DHCR, and she informed me that no matter what, a landlord cannot ask for more than 1 months’ rent security in a rent-stabilized building. The Met Council on Housing also insists the same thing, and that tenants are eligible to file a Form RA-89 with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.
Absolutely correct. If approved for the unit, the only qualification for security deposit may be the value of one month's rent, which is kept on deposit, with interest to be paid upon return, less deductions for any damages caused during the occupancy of the tenant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
The broker “claims” he's never heard of such a law in all his life, even though he’s been in the business for 9 years. I have difficulty believing him.
Some agents will tell you anything, nothing new. However, you have informed him of the law, and can refer him to sources where he may become enlightened. If you are dealing with an agent, call the broker, and if you are dealing with a broker, you can make a complaint with the state department of licensing and/or the REBNY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Megzi View Post
After all is said and done, this really feels like a bait and switch to me. We haven’t signed a lease yet, and I’m wary to go along with this. I’m not sure I want to have this guy as a landlord anyway. Do you think I should walk away from a landlord who’s playing mind games, or just go along with it? Is this completely normal for NYC? Are rent-stabilized laws completely bypassed all the time?
The increase in rent is not an issue at all, since a $50 is nowhere close to the 18-20% allowed by law for a vacancy increase because the stabilized rent is not going to be under $300, where that range of increase would be the maximum allowed by law. Attempting to extract an extra security deposit is an issue, and even if the old tenant had paid security to equal two months of rent, you are not required to do so. One month is allowed by the current laws that govern rent stabilized units.

It is up to you what you want to do in this situation. However, I would not rent the apartment, knowingly paying two months of security just to file complaints after you establish tenancy; rather, I would just walk away if they refused to budge on the security deposit issue, and make reports to the appropriate agencies and real estate board.

You may have difficulty during the tenancy, however, when dealing with the owner or owner's representative, so I would think about that as well, even when the broker/agent is out of the transaction. The landlord may be inclined to do the absolute minimum required by law, which may not mesh with your vision of habitability. It is also very curious to have a $175/month drop in a vacant stabilized unit, as it is not terribly difficult to establish a $225/month increase under the current allowances of the law for the vacancy lease and improvements (new appliances, etc.).
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
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(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 06-27-2013, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
2,408 posts, read 3,085,811 times
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Ive rented rent stabilized apts to clients many times (IM AN AGENT) a landlord legally cant ask for more than one months security or rent. Please be careful and report them. Everything must be paid in Checks so you can easily see what the amount of the checks are being made. If hes asking cash then more red flags.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:09 AM
 
12,120 posts, read 29,883,145 times
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you all seem to understand this better than i do.

since a rent stabilized lease is likely to cite the law right on the application ( LL can ask for one months's security only) i don't understand how a landlord would be able to get away with listing 2 months on the application. it would be a blatant violation of the RS law
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