Landlord Overcharged Successor Tenant by Collecting Vacancy Increase
LVT Number: #32906
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge in April 2019. He claimed that he was the successor tenant to his mother's apartment. After she died, landlord gave him a vacancy lease at a 20 percent rent increase over prior rent, instead of a renewal lease. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding that he hadn't proved succession rights.
Tenant appealed and won. Tenant had submitted to the DRA personal and joint bank records, insurance documents, a bank letter, and his NYS driver's license showing that he had lived in the unit for two years before his mother died in 2017. Although tenant submitted no tax records, Social Security records showed that he didn't work after 1987. Since tenant proved his succession rights, landlord should have offered him a renewal lease. Landlord therefore overcharged tenant and was ordered to refund $1,447 for six months overpayment before tenant's rent was frozen by SCRIE at a lower amount than charged. The total overcharge with interest was $10,742. Landlord must apply to SCRIE to adjust its TAC benefit starting July 1, 2020, if necessary and to refund any amount due to the SCRIE program. The DHCR found that the overcharge wasn't willful and that triple damages didn't apply.
Pellittire: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. LR110019RT (9/12/23)[4-pg. document]