Vacancy Deregulation Didn't Apply When Rent Threshold Reached by Addition of Co-Tenant
LVT Number: #32930
Tenant complained of rent overcharge and improper apartment deregulation. The DRA ruled for tenant, found that he was rent stabilized, and directed landlord to refund $17,446, including triple damages. Landlord appealed and lost. The DRA properly considered pre-base date rent history to determine if the apartment's 2004 vacancy deregulation was correct. Rent records showed that, although the 2004 rent was over $2,000 per month, the apartment wasn't vacant at that time, so it couldn't have been deregulated. The prior tenant remained in the unit in 2004 when the complaining tenant was added as a co-tenant. So there was never an actual vacancy and "vacancy deregulation" didn't apply. Landlord also argued that it had given tenant an overcharge refund after the complaint was filed. But it did so more than four years after the complaint was filed and the refund of $3,258 wasn't a full refund. And triple damages were properly assessed for willful rent overcharge.
13 Prince Owner, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. LO410023RO (8/3/23)[8-pg. document]