Rediscovering Discovery in Eviction Proceedings After Regina Metro

Tenants do not have an automatic right to discovery in housing court. Thus, they must seek permission of the court to perform discovery. Generally, in non-payment, and even holdover proceedings, in Housing Court, it is very common for a tenant to interpose a defense or counterclaim of rent overcharge. When a tenant makes such a claim, the next step is to make a motion seeking the rent history of the apartment in order for the tenant to attempt to bolster the claim of rent overcharge. Following the passage of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) on June 14, 2019, the rules regarding discovery in summary eviction proceedings were vastly altered.

Continue reading

Market Reinvigorated: The Impact of Regina Metropolitan on the Rental Building Market

Following the passage of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA) on June 14, 2019, investors in residential rental properties collectively discovered that the value of their buildings were substantially diminished. Since all rental histories were subject to review under HSTPA, neither a seller nor a buyer could have security about the reliability of a building’s rent roll. Effectively, all rental histories were subject to scrutiny and the potential for rent overcharge liability was devastating. Without perfect recordkeeping it was hard make representations as to the reliability of rents.

Continue reading

Buyout Guide

A new law takes effect on December 2, 2015 designed to prevent Owners from harassing tenants through the offering of buyouts. The new law, modifies Section 27-2004 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the Housing Maintenance Code, and adds new definitions for harassment.

Below you will find a sample letter to send to tenants/occupants about buyouts.

Continue reading

Another Win on Illegal Subletting – AirBnB

Rent Stabilization-Tenants “Engaged in Profiteering by Renting Out” Their Apartment “to a Series of Short-Term Transient Tenants” for Commercial Purposes on Airbnb-“Such Brazen and Commercial” Exploitation of a Rent Stabilized Apartment Significantly Undermines the Purpose and Integrity of the Rent Stabilization Law and Code and Is “Incurable.”

A landlord commenced a holdover summary proceeding, seeking to recover an apartment, after the expiration of a 10-day notice of termination (notice) and a 10-day notice to cure. The notice to cure alleged that the rent-stabilized tenants, “were not primarily residing in the apartment and were illegally subletting the apartment in substantial violation of the terms of their lease.” The tenants denied the allegations and asserted that they reside in the apartment.

Continue reading

DHCR Giving Little Guidance on How to Amend Registrations

The DHCR’s most recent amendments to the Rent Stabilization Code now require that an owner seeking to amend past registrations file an application to amend unless the amendment has been directed by the DHCR or a court.

When no order has been issued, the DHCR has provided little guidance as to how amendments are to be applied for, and in what instances applications will be granted. No forms, fact sheets, or operational bulletins have been published. The owner is left to apply for an administrative determination, and hope for the best.

Continue reading

Individual Apartment Improvements: What’s Eligible?

There is no official DHCR list of eligible Individual Apartment Improvements (“IAIs”). While DHCR’s Fact Sheet # 12 does provide some guidance, the lack of an MCI-type list of eligible W work has always caused some uncertainty for property owners who have found it necessary to rely upon case-by-case determinations by the agency. This uncertainty has been put into sharper focus in light of the creation of DHCR’s Tenant Protection Unit (“TPU”) in 2011. Since that time, DHCR has issued hundreds of audit notices to owners, seeking lists of itemized costs of individual apartment improvements with the caveat that any undocumented or unexplained increase at the audit stage could, if not refunded, result in treble damages in the future. As a result, at this critical juncture we have reviewed numerous DHCR administrative decisions and opinion letters to collect the following list of eligible improvements and ineligible repairs.

Continue reading

Four Tips to Avoid Penalties for ‘Commingling Residents’ Security Deposits

Historical Archives
Disclaimer: The laws in effect at the time these articles were written may have changed so our firm makes no representation of their accuracy today.
Owners must be careful about where they keep the money residents give them as security deposits. A security deposit is not in the same category as a rent check or other type of payment an owner may receive from a resident. Technically. the security deposit belongs to the resident. Although you hold it while the resident lives in your building, it is not your money unless and until the resident moves out leaving unpaid rent or damage to the apartment.

Continue reading

Properly Calculate Interest on Rent Overcharge Amount to Avoid Triple Damages

Historical Archives
Disclaimer: The laws in effect at the time these articles were written may have changed so our firm makes no representation of their accuracy today.
You probably know that if you promptly refund an overcharge to a tenant who has filed a rent overcharge complaint against you, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) shouldn’t hit you with triple damages for the amount of the overcharge. But to avoid that penalty, your refund must also include interest (currently set at 9 percent per year) on the overcharge amount, warns Steven Sidrane, of counsel to the Hewlett, N.Y., law firm of Sidrane & Schwartz-Sidrane, LLP.

Continue reading