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Is your landlord overcharging you?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2016 | Tenants' Rights |

No one expects to find a cheap apartment in New York City. It’s a well-known fact that finding a place to live in the city can be expensive. Rent Jungle, a website that specializes in apartment information, tracks common rents in the area. According to their findings, the average rent within 10 miles of New York City proper is $3,208 as of October 2016.

The site further broke down rent costs by size of the apartment. One-bedroom apartments in this area rent for approximately $2,829 per month and two bedrooms go for $3,618.

Although these averages provide some guidance, the actual cost to rent will vary depending on a number of circumstances. Location, often the primary motivator in real estate costs, is a top factor, but the condition of the apartment also plays a large role. Even with these factors in mind, however, some tenants still believe that their landlord is overcharging them. In order to determine if your rent is too high, you must first consider whether your apartment is rent stabilized.

Rent in rent-stabilized apartments

If an apartment is rent stabilized, it is a good idea to contact the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and request a rent history. This document, along with a review of a rent stabilization lease rider from the landlord, will provide valuable information on the cost of renting the apartment in question.

When the apartment is a rent-stabilized property, increases in rent must be based on grounds laid out in the Rent Stabilization Code. The New York City Rent Guidelines Board has information on how to determine if a landlord is overcharging. When it comes to rent-stabilized apartments, grounds that can result in an increase in rental costs include:

  • Major capital improvement
  • Individual apartment increases
  • Whether the tenant was paying preferential rent

Rent may also increase based on the annual guidelines as issued by the Rent Guidelines Board.

Rent in market-rate apartments

Although rent stabilization regulations do not apply to these apartments, other restrictions may. If, for example, there is a lease, the landlord cannot violate the terms of the lease.

Overcharging rent can be a serious issue and may be a violation of a tenant’s rights. Tenants may be entitled to a refund and treble damages in these situations. If you believe that your landlord is violating your rights, legal remedies are available.

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