Moving to or around New York can quickly become overwhelming. Finding a home that is affordable, safe and in the desired neighborhood, it can take a lot of hunting. As such, finding your new home can be a great relief.

Unfortunately, there may still be some work ahead if you believe your landlord is overcharging you. This can be the case when landlords illegally deregulated apartments. Deregulation of rent-stabilized apartments was ended in June 2019, but apartments that were previously deregulated lawfully will remain deregulated.  As explained below, any previous deregulation may be subject to challenge.  Below are four tactics landlords in NYC may use to overcharge tenants.

  1. Manipulating the number of spaces that they rent – This can happen by either charging multiple people for one apartment or discontinuing renting in a space. Landlords often do this to collect more rent or make it look like they have fewer than six apartments.
  2. Lying in regulation applications – To avoid stabilization, some landlords will lie in their registrations by fabricating tenant histories and falsely claiming the owner lived in one of the apartments.
  3. Claiming they made improvements that they did not make – To deregulate an apartment, landlords might claim they made significant improvements. These improvements may have never happened, or they may not be significant enough to justify a rent increase that resulted in deregulation.
  4. Ignoring new rules – Some landlords may simply ignore the rules on rent increases, tax abatements and updates with the hope that new tenants won’t know or care enough to challenge deregulation.

Every month a tenant pays more than they should on an apartment, they lose money. As such, it is important to figure out if your apartment is or should be deregulated.

As we discussed in this Brick Underground article, there are a number of ways you find the information you need to determine if your landlord is overcharging you.

Typically, you will not find the information you need to confirm illegal de-stabilization in your lease or from your landlord. Therefore, some places you can start looking include:

  • The Division of Homes and Community Renewal for your apartment’s rent history
  • Tax records
  • Other tenants with information about past renovations, rent rates and vacancies
  • Previous tenants and their rent records

With the right support and information, you can protect yourself from overpaying rent and unscrupulous landlords.