Landlord Filed False Registrations
LVT Number: 13798
Facts: SRO tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DHCR ruled for tenant based on its finding that nearly all of landlord's rent registrations for the 120-unit building were deliberately false and backed up by falsified rent ledgers and altered tax returns. The DHCR found that landlord's false registrations were the equivalent of not registering at all. So landlord wasn't entitled to rent increases. Landlord appealed. Court: Landlord loses. The applicable Rent Guidelines Board orders for hotel units, including SROs, state that if 20 percent or more of the units in a building with 20 or more units weren't registered with DHCR, no rent increase is allowable. The DHCR also properly found that the overcharge was willful. The $30,000 fine imposed on landlord didn't bar an award of triple damages for a willful overcharge.
Cosmopolitan Broadcasting Corp. v. DHCR: NYLJ, p. 27, col. 1 (12/8/99) (Sup. Ct. NY; Goodman, J)