Base Date Rent Over $2,000
LVT Number: #20742
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. When he moved in, landlord gave him an unregulated lease and charged him $3,150 per month. Landlord showed that on the base rent date, four years before tenant's complaint was filed, the rent was $2,000 per month or more. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding that tenant's rent was deregulated. Tenant appealed, claiming that the four-year rule shouldn't apply because the issue was whether the apartment was subject to the rent-stabilization law. Tenant also argued that landlord didn't give tenant proper documentation showing that the apartment was exempt from stabilization when tenant moved in.
The DHCR ruled against tenant. Rent Stabilization Code Section 2526.1 bars review of rent history prior to the four-year period before an overcharge complaint is filed. Although the code section also says that the four-year rule doesn't apply when the issue is whether an apartment is subject to rent stabilization, it also specifies that cases concerning high-rent decontrol are an exception. In addition, although tenant was the first tenant to move in after high-rent deregulation and landlord should have given him certain information relating to that when he moved in, landlord's failure to do so didn't revoke the apartment's exempt status. Since the prior tenant paid over $2,000 per month and tenant moved in under a non-stabilized lease at a rent of $3,150, tenant was in effect put on notice that the apartment was deregulated.
Amstutz: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WD410014RT (7/3/08) [2-pg. doc.]