Landlord Can't Collect Electrical Surcharge
LVT Number: 15792
Landlord sued rent-stabilized tenant for nonpayment of rent. Landlord and tenant signed a settlement agreement in court by which tenant agreed to pay $7,000 in back rent owed. This included $2,000 in electrical surcharges. Tenant later got an attorney and asked the court to modify the settlement agreement. Tenant claimed that landlord couldn't claim the electrical surcharge as rent. Landlord argued that the Rent Stabilization Code, as amended in 2000, specifically permitted electrical surcharges. The court ruled against tenant. Tenant appealed and won. The Rent Stabilization Law bars collection of ''rent'' that is more than the legal regulated rent. So lease clauses describing late fees or surcharges as additional rent are unenforceable against rent-stabilized tenants. The amended Rent Stabilization Code also says that rent doesn't include surcharges. The appeals court reduced the amount owed by tenant under the settlement agreement to $5,000.
Related Tiffany, LP v. Faust: NYLJ, 4/24/02, p. 20, col. 5 (App. T.2 Dept.; Aronin, JP, Golia, Rios, JJ)