Landlord Can Charge First Rent for Combining Three Apartments
LVT Number: 11894
(Decision submitted by James R. Marino of the Manhattan law firm of Kucker Kraus & Bruh, LLP, attorneys for the landlord.) Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DHCR ruled against tenant, finding that landlord had combined three apartments in 1977 and was entitled to charge a first rent. Tenant appealed, claiming that the DHCR arbitrarily ignored the fact that in 1977 landlord made her sign one lease for apartments 12CW and 12E and made tenant's mother sign a lease for apartment 12C so that the units could continue to be legally distinct. But landlord showed that there were substantial alterations and enlargement by which the three separate apartments were combined into one large five-bedroom apartment. Landlord had relocated and renovated the kitchen, modified and moved walls, and installed new fixtures and appliances. A section of the building's public hallway was also added to one of the apartment's bedrooms. Tenant also claimed that she paid for part of the renovations and that the building's C of O still indicated two apartments rather than three. The court ruled against tenant. The DHCR's decision was rational, since landlord proved that it had moved the outer boundaries of the individual apartments to create a new apartment.
McIntee v. DHCR: Index No. 117249/96 (7/14/97) (Sup. Ct. NY; Sklar, J) [5-page document]