Landlord Continued to Overcharge Tenant
LVT Number: #24578
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of a rent overcharge. He claimed that landlord continued to charge and collect renewal lease increases even though tenant's rent was frozen due to a rent reduction order based on a decrease in apartment services. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund $6,800, including triple damages. Landlord appealed, claiming that there was no willful overcharge because it had sent tenant a refund while the case was pending. The DHCR ruled against landlord. DHCR Policy Statement 89-2 allows landlords to avoid triple damages if they adjust rent and refund overcharges within the time afforded to answer a DHCR complaint. Here, landlord not only failed to stop overcharging tenant, but continued to do so through the month of December 2011, shortly before the DRA issued its order. But since landlord had sent tenant a partial refund check at that time in the amount of $1,300, the total overcharge ordered was reduced to $5,500.
Manchester LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. AM110012RO (11/29/12) [2-pg. doc.]