Tenants' Rights Archives

Airbnb in NYC: Three laws tenants should know

Airbnb experienced a tenfold increase in booking between January of 2010 and June of 2014 in NYC. This translates to big money for NYC residents who use the rental platform. Revenue by renters utilizing the site has also increased. One estimate has these numbers doubling every year from 2010 to 2013.

Tenants' rights include the right to safe air quality

While many of us don't think about it as often, indoor air quality can be as important to our health as outdoor air quality. Living in New York City, where the population density is extremely high, indoor air quality is a real concern.

A window into ageism

When the owner of a building with rent-stabilized tenants does a major capital improvements (MCI) he can get rent increases after filing an application with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). MCI applications can be opposed by tenants and in many cases the rent increases can be avoided or decreased.

When Your Landlord Refuses To Live Up To An Agreement in Court

Whether your landlord is suing you for eviction, or you are suing your landlord for repairs, being in court takes its toll. Resources get depleted. Tenants have to take off from work, pay an attorney to represent them, and live with the stress of an unknown outcome.

No MCI Rent Increase for Owner Who Has 10 years to Repair Defective Windows but Doesn't

Rent stabilized tenants in a Upper West Side building won a great victory today when the DHCR again revoked a $39.16 per room MCI rent increases for new windows after inspecting the windows and finding that they are defective. The owner installed the new windows in 2004 but when they were originally found to be defective in certain apartments the DHCR permanently exempted those apartments from the increase in 2006.  The owner appealed arguing that the exemption should be temporary and that it should be given another chance to repair the windows, although tenants argued it had already had multiple chances. The owner lost its Article 78 appeal before Judge Marilyn Shafer.  The owner then appealed to the Appellate Division.  In 2010 a divided court ruled in Langham Mansions v. DHCR that the agency should have suspended rather than permanently denied the increase, despite evidence in the record that the owner had repeatedly tried to repair the windows and failed.  The matter was sent back to the DHCR and the owner then had four additional years to try to repair the windows. The owner failed to do so and when the DHCR reinspected in 2014 they were found to be defective, as the tenants had claimed they were in 2006.  The windows were found to be both difficult to open and had air seepage due to gaps between the bottom sash and frame.

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.

Non-Payment Dismissed Where Landlord Refused Tendered Rent

New York Housing Court Judge Sabrina B. Kraus recently dismissed a landlords non-payment proceeding on the grounds that the landlord had repeatedly refused rent which the tenant tried to pay. The defense is known as "tender and refusal." Windermere vs. Mulla, NYLJ, 8/7/13. The tenant had been subject to repeated court proceedings by the landlord which had been either settled or discontinued. In one case the landlord failed to file any opposition papers and in the non-payment proceeding the landlord failed to refute the tenants claim that it had refused rent. Landlords often try to wear down tenants with repeated meritless proceedings.

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