Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph - Manhattan Tenant Rights and Representation Attorney
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December 2013 Archives

A Mystery: Tenants in Buildings Receiving 421-G Located in the Financial District Show Little Interest in Securing Rent Stabilization Protections/Rights

On December 23, 2009, attorneys at the law firm of Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue and Joseph secured a potentially major victory for tenants in New York City.

Rent Reduction for Terminating Electrical Inclusion without DHCR approval

In a decision dated December 2, 2013, 98 Riverside Drive v. DHCR and 98 Riverside Drive Tenants Association, Justice Cynthia S. Kern of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the landlord's Article 78 petition against a rent reduction order issued by the DHCR which was based upon the landlord's unilateral discontinuance of electrical inclusion (electricity included in the rent). The tenants had always had their electricity included in their rent. The landlord converted the building from "master metering" to individual metering by installing individual meters in tenants' apartments. The Rent Stabilization Law and Rent Control Law require that a landlord first apply to the DHCR for permission before discontinuing electrical inclusion.

Can I Sublet My Apartment?

Most residential leases prohibit subleasing. However, a statute, Real Property Law section 226-b, titted "Right to Sublet", gives the appearance that despite the lease prohibition you can go ahead and sublet. You would not be faulted if you believed that. Alas, it is not that easy and sometimes acts as a trap to the unaware.

Judge Finds That Rent Has to be Set Based Upon the "Default Formula"

In the 1980's, a Brooklyn brownstone containing 7 units was converted to 4 units. None of the units were ever registered with the DHCR. A duplex unit was occupied by the owners from 1998 to 2008. In 2008, these owners sold the building, and the new owners rented the duplex to new tenants. They were given a "market" lease and paid the rent demanded for 4 years. In 2012, a Housing Court Judge determined that the tenants were rent stabilized and ordered a trial on rent overcharge. After trial, Housing Court Judge McClanahan found, in Chun v. Raywood, that the legal rent had to be set based on the DHCR's "default formula," a calculation used when no reliable rental history records are available, and ordered the owners to refund the amount overpaid for the past 4 years, plus interest. Under the "default formula" the rent could be set on the basis of the lowest rent stabilized rent for a comparable apartment in the same line of apartments, or on other alternative formulas that would generally result in a lower rent.