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Lawsuit alleges rent was raised illegally

Living in New York City can be a costly proposition whether owning or renting. For many, renting is a wise decision as it accords them flexibility and they don't have to worry about certain aspects of their living arrangements that can be exceedingly costly if they own the property. However, there are certain problems that can come up in landlord-tenant disputes regarding various issues. One that comes up frequently is the rent. Those who are dealing with problems centered around their rental agreement need to know how a legal case can be beneficial toward settling a dispute.

Present and past tenants of buildings owned by a real estate company have filed a lawsuit alleging that the landlord violated the rent regulation laws in New York. The company has been prominently featured in the city's assertion that affordable housing is a staple of the current mayoral administration. The lawsuit says that costs of renovating the apartments were misrepresented. This is important because it gave the company the right to increase the rent, take rent-stabilized apartments out of that status, and alter the market rate rents.

One case in particular asserts that a tenant who was in a rent-stabilized apartment had the rent increased by more than double what the prior tenant was paying. For that to have been the case, the improvements would have had to reach $89,000. Another rental unit had its rent raised by 188 percent from what the previous tenant paid. For that, the work would have had to cost $70,000. The work was not even completed. The rent stabilization law would be violated if the allegations are shown to be accurate. The company is denying the claims in the lawsuit.

No matter which side a person is on when it comes to landlord/tenant law, legal assistance is invaluable to protecting one's own interests. From the perspective of the owner, the rental property is often a source of income. There will be taxes, maintenance costs and other expenses that have to be accounted for. From the perspective of the renter, the safety and efficiency of the property as well as the cost will all come to the forefront. When there is an issue with a rental agreement or accusations of wrongdoing, having legal help is essential. Contacting an attorney experienced in the New York real estate market is key.

Source: The Real Deal, "Tenants sue A&E Real Estate claiming inflated rents," Chava Gourarie, Oct. 18, 2016

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