Triple Damages Imposed Despite Landlord's Ignorance of Stabilized Status
LVT Number: #20282
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and found there was a willful rent overcharge. The DRA also froze tenant's rent until 2007 based on landlord's failure to register tenant's apartment in 2003 and 2004 and on a service reduction order issued in 2006. Landlord appealed, claiming that it had relied on advice from its former attorney about the building's status and believed that tenant's apartment was exempt from rent stabilization due to the expiration of J-51 tax benefits. Landlord claimed that it refunded any overcharge once it learned that tenant was rent stabilized. The DHCR ruled against landlord. Landlord didn't give tenant a full refund. And landlord didn't offer tenant a refund until 2006, more than a year after the DHCR ruled in a separate case that the building was rent stabilized under the terms of a mortgage, and remained rent stabilized after the mortgage was satisfied.
Development Outreach, Inc.: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. VH410035RO (1/3/08) [3-pg. doc.]