Tenant Can Subpoena DHCR Rent Registration Records for Entire Building
LVT Number: #31991
Tenant sued landlord, claiming rent overcharge and improper apartment deregulation. During the proceeding, tenant subpoenaed DHCR rent registration records for the entire building. Landlord objected and asked the court for a protective order, arguing that these records were irrelevant.
The court ruled against landlord, who appealed and lost. The appeals court found that the rent roll registration records sought in the tenant's subpoena were relevant to determine whether landlord engaged in a fraudulent scheme to deregulate tenant's apartment and other apartments in the building. At this stage of the case, the question wasn't whether fraud had been demonstrated, but rather whether fraud could be shown. The registration records also were relevant to show whether landlord re-registered the building's units while the building was receiving J-51 tax benefits. And, while Rent Stabilization Code (RSC) Section 2528.5 barred release of information to tenants of rent registration records for other apartments, landlord presented no law or regulations that supported its claim that the RSC barred release of information through a subpoena approved by the court.
Ioannou v. 1 BK St. Corp.: Index No. 160523/19, App. No. 15612, Case No. 2021-02075, 2022 NY Slip Op 02089 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 3/29/22; Kapnick, JP, Webber, Friedman, Kennedy, Mendez, JJ)