Court Can Decide Tenant's Claim
LVT Number: 18649
Facts: Tenant sued landlord in court for a rent overcharge. Tenant claimed that landlord's rent increases based on individual apartment improvements were improper. Landlord asked the court to dismiss the case. Landlord argued that the court didn't have the authority to decide rent overcharge issues, and that only the DHCR could decide the questions raised by tenant. Court: Landlord loses. The Rent Stabilization Law gives both the DHCR and the courts the authority to decide rent overcharge issues. And the formula for calculating proper 1/40th rent increases for apartment improvements wasn't complicated. Although the DHCR made rules for what documents were needed to prove the cost of improvements, the court was capable of applying those rules.
Vazquez v. Sichel: NYLJ, 1/13/06, p. 20, col. 3 (Civ. Ct. NY; Billings, J)