No Rent Freeze for Registering Incorrect Amount
LVT Number: 12469
Facts: Landlord sued to evict tenant for nonpayment of rent. Tenant claimed a rent overcharge. The registered rent for the apartment was $405 in 1991 and 1992, $750 in 1993 after a vacancy, and $765 in 1994 when tenant moved in. Tenant argued that the legal rent should remain at $405 because landlord's registration statements in 1993 and 1994 stated an incorrect rent amount. Tenant claimed the overcharge should be calculated as the difference between $405 and the amount tenant was charged. The court ruled for tenant, and landlord appealed. Courts: Landlord wins. The rent-overcharge amount should have been calculated as the difference between what tenant was charged and what the rent would have been, including lawful vacancy, renewal, and MCI increases. The lower court based its overcharge finding on a rent freeze because, starting in 1993, landlord had registered an incorrect amount. But landlord's registration of an incorrect rent amount doesn't trigger a rent-freeze penalty under the law. The court sent the case back for recalculation of the overcharge.
Heights Assocs. v. Bautista: NYLJ, p. 30, col. 1 (6/29/98) (App. T. 2 Dept.; Scholnick, PJ, Chetta, Patterson, JJ)