Agreement Waiving Rent Protection Is Unenforceable
LVT Number: 18853
Facts: Tenant moved into a rent-stabilized apartment in 1981. Tenant's lease was renewed several times. In early 1992, new landlord filed an application with the DHCR, seeking a ruling that the building wasn't rent stabilized. Landlord and tenant then negotiated a new lease rider. Starting in March 1995, tenant's rent was $1,700, rather than the $1,529 it would be under rent stabilization. Landlord and tenant also agreed to renew tenant's lease every two years at rent guidelines rates. In 1996, DHCR ruled that the building was rent stabilized. In 2002, landlord sent tenant an income certification form because tenant's rent was by then over $2,000 per month. Tenant then sued landlord, claiming that landlord violated their 1995 lease rider agreement by seeking deregulation. The court ruled for tenant, finding that the 1995 lease rider agreement was enforceable. Landlord appealed. Court: Landlord wins. A settlement or lease agreement that waives the benefit of rent stabilization is unenforceable as a matter of public policy, even if the agreement benefits tenant.
Drucker v. Mauro: NYLJ, 4/27/06, p. 18, col. 1 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; Tom, JP, Mazzarelli, Andrias, Friedman, Gonzalez, JJ)