Landlord Claims Tenant Wasn't Entitled to Claim Rent Overcharge
LVT Number: #31364
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant in 2017 and ordered landlord to refund $16,043, including triple damages. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord claimed that tenant fraudulently took over prior tenant's lease. But the record contained a two-year lease commencing Nov. 1, 2013, that named both tenant and the prior tenant as co-tenants. Landlord signed this lease. There was no proof, aside from landlord's sworn statement, supporting landlord's claim that tenant made any misrepresentation or committed any fraud in order to become a tenant of record of the apartment. And a tenant remained a tenant of record until she moved out or was evicted. It didn't matter that only the co-tenant was named by landlord in the rent registration.
Tenant also claimed that she moved into the unit on Sept. 1, 2014, and that landlord gave her and the prior tenant a back-dated lease to sign. The prior tenant moved out in December 2014, and the complaining tenant then became the sole tenant of record. After that, she wasn't required to sign a renewal lease containing any other tenant's name. Landlord claimed that tenant's new roommate became the tenant of record, but no proof supported this claim. And even if landlord was entitled to charge a vacancy increase when tenant moved in with prior tenant in 2014, landlord waived the right to do so.
Zafir: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. IS210081RK (3/12/21) [9-pg. doc.]