Landlord Can't Charge First Rent
LVT Number: 8845
Rent-stabilized tenant filed an overcharge complaint shortly after moving into the apartment. Landlord claimed that he was entitled to charge a first rent for the apartment because it had been substantially renovated. The DRA ruled that tenant had been overcharged, and awarded tenant triple damages. The DRA found that landlord could only raise the rent by 1/40th of the cost of the claimed improvements. Landlord appealed and lost. A first rent can be charged only if the outside walls of the apartment have been enlarged. In this case, the apartment had been substantially renovated, but the outside walls weren't altered. Since tenant had paid less than the lawful rent during the course of the lease, tenant hadn't been overcharged and wasn't entitled to triple damages.
952 Fifth Ave. Apt. 5B: DHCR Adm. Rev. Dckt. No. EA 410111-RO (3/3/94) [7-page document]