Landlord Collected Two Vacancy Increases in Same Calendar Year

LVT Number: #29755

Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. Landlord claimed that it had made individual apartment improvements (IAIs) to the apartment before tenant moved in and paid a contractor $10,000 to replace all Sheetrock in the apartment, plaster and paint the bathroom, replace the toilet connections and the toilet, tile the bathroom, and replace sub flooring in the kitchen and install new wood flooring to matching the existing color. Landlord submitted an agreement signed by landlord, tenant, and the contractor with notations of payments made totalling $10,000. Tenant claimed that work either wasn't done or didn't qualify as IAIs.

The DRA ruled for tenant in part. The DRA found that the IAIs were eligible for a rent increase. But landlord had collected two vacancy increases during the year that tenant moved in, when only one vacancy increase per calendar year was permitted. The total overcharge, with triple damages, was $3,977.

Tenant appealed and lost. Tenant claimed that landlord's claimed IAI costs weren't sufficiently itemized. But itemization in price is necessary when some of the stated work qualifies as IAIs and some does not. Here, the entire job, as described, qualifies, so that wasn't necessary. Tenant had admitted that the claimed work was performed, and payment was adequately established. [Download PDF of decision here.]

Quigley: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. FT210016RT (9/18/18) [3-pg. doc.]