Landlord Submits No Proof of Settlement to Offset Overcharge Finding
LVT Number: #31357
The DHCR's Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) conducted a rent registration audit and determined that an apartment's legal regulated rent wasn't fully substantiated. The TPU referred the case to the DRA after landlord failed to comply with the TPU's order to submit amended rent registrations to the DHCR and to give tenant an amended lease. The DRA then processed a rent overcharge claim, ruled for tenant, and directed landlord to refund $6,071 to tenant, including triple damages.
Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord said he bought the building in December 2015 without knowledge of the TPU proceeding. He also claimed that he had reduced tenant's rent based on a discrepancy claimed by tenant, and that tenant now owed rent after the DRA's order was issued. The DHCR noted that landlord submitted no documentation of any settlement of the overcharge claim with tenant. And, pursuant to Rent Stabilization Code Section 2520.13, any settlement with tenant wouldn't have a binding effect on any subsequent tenant and the legal rent. The DRA also properly found a willful overcharge. The overcharge finding was based on other factors in addition to landlord's failure to register the apartment
Gholizadeh: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. IV410023RO (3/10/21) [4-pg. doc.]