No 1/40th Rent Hike for Poor Quality Work
LVT Number: #20408
Tenant filed a fair market rent appeal, challenging the first rent-stabilized rent of his apartment. The DRA ruled for tenant, reduced his rent, and ordered landlord to refund $4,500. Landlord appealed, claiming that the DRA incorrectly disallowed apartment improvement costs in calculating the legal rent. Landlord had renovated the apartment before tenant moved in and said it spent $30,000. The DHCR ruled against landlord. Landlord's invoices contained either the apartment number or a reference to tenant's floor. But landlord claimed three different cost totals for the work done. There was no description of the work done, or the identity of the contractor or person who did the work. There also were many discrepancies between the claimed costs and the amounts appearing on the invoices or checks. Tenant also pointed out inconsistencies. Landlord claimed it bought 15 doors for the apartment but tenant said there were only 12. Landlord said it installed 11 radiator valves, but the apartment had only four radiators. Tenant also showed that the work was of such poor quality with so many defects that it couldn't have been done by a professional and couldn't be considered an improvement. Photographs showed doors that didn't close, incorrectly installed toilets, nails sticking out of floors, a missing radiator, mismatched molding, stains on tiles and wood floors, and inaccessible storage areas.
527 West 157 Street LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WA410045RO (2/27/08) [3-pg. document]