Landlord Can't Collect Air Conditioner Surcharge
LVT Number: #23663
In 2006, a Mitchell-Lama building left that program and became subject to rent stabilization. Base rents were set in August 2006. In 2008, the DHCR granted landlord's application to switch from including electricity in tenants' rents to individual submetering. This lowered rents by subtracting the cost of electricity for normal usage plus rent charges previously authorized to offset the electricity costs. Tenant later claimed a rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund $355. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord claimed that it was entitled to collect a rent surcharge for tenant's air conditioner since this charge was separate from tenant's base rent. The DHCR found that when landlord was providing electricity it was appropriate to compensate landlord for appliance usage. But now that tenants paid for their own electricity, it would be unfair to allow reimbursement of a cost that landlord no longer incurs.
Gaia by the Park, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. ZD410001RO (8/23/11) [3-pg. doc.]