Failure to Follow 2009 Roberts Ruling on Deregulation Didn't Constitute Fraud by Landlord
LVT Number: #31753
Tenant complained of rent overcharge and improper deregulation in 2016. In 2014, tenant had moved into a building that received J-51 tax benefits between 2005 and 2017, at an initial rent of $3,750. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding no rent overcharge after applying the rent in effect four years before the complaint was filed as the base date rent.
Tenant appealed and lost, claiming that landlord's actions were fraudulent and that the DHCR should've looked back more than four years. Tenant pointed out that landlord ignored the 2009 Roberts court decision when it rented the unit to tenant in 2014. But the DHCR found that this wasn't evidence of fraud, since pre-Roberts DHCR policy permitted vacancy deregulation in J-51 buildings. And post-Roberts, the DHCR didn't issue guidance and policies concerning registrations and leases "until years after" the Roberts decision and the base rent date in this case.
Chesler: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. JQ410032RT (11/8/21)[7-pg. document]