Triple Damages Applied to Rent Overcharge Determination
LVT Number: #31593
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and ordered landlord to refund $12,679, including triple damages. Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord argued that there was no willful rent overcharge because tenant didn't show deliberate and intentional wrongdoing by landlord. But this wasn't the correct test. The DHCR pointed out that, to avoid triple damages, landlord must show that it lacked reason to know it was overcharging tenant. In this case, the issues involved, including calculation of an MCI rent increase, weren't so complex as to deprive landlord of a "reason to know." So, triple damages were justified.
PR 562 West 189, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. IX410012RO (7/6/21)[4-pg. document]