Landlord Overcharged Tenant
LVT Number: #21013
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of a rent overcharge. She said that she moved into the apartment in 2006 and signed two leases. One listed her rent as $950 per month, and the other listed the rent as $1,250. Tenant claimed that landlord made her sign two leases, one to show DSS and one for tenant. DSS paid $750 and tenant paid the difference. When landlord renewed tenant's lease, the stated rent was $1,018.88, but landlord charged tenant $1,340.63. Landlord claimed that the legal rent was $1,250 under tenant's initial lease, and $1,340.63 under her renewal lease. Landlord submitted copies only of the leases listing these higher rents. Landlord made no comment about tenant's second set of leases. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding that her initial legal rent was $1,250. Tenant appealed. She again said that landlord made her sign the second set of leases at higher rents for purposes of submission to DSS. Landlord claimed that tenant forged the lower-rent leases. The DHCR ruled for tenant. Landlord didn't comment to the DRA about the lower-rent leases tenant submitted, and tenant insisted that the midmonth starting date in the lower-rent leases was correct. Tenant made only one payment of $1,250 to landlord when she moved in and didn't pay a security deposit. And DSS made two payments of $950 at that time and never made so large a payment after that. The DHCR couldn't see how tenant would get more welfare benefits by representing that her rent was lower than it really was. The DHCR found that landlord overcharged tenant and ordered a refund of $3,800, including interest.
Cernuda: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WH410056RT (12/23/08) [4-pg. doc.]