First, the HSTPA extends the statute of limitations for rent over claims from four (4) years to six (6) years. This means that in 2019, when examining an apartments rent history for a potential overcharge claim, one can review the legal regulated rent for 2013!
Second, the HSTPA increased the treble damages period from two (2) to six (6) years. (Treble damages = 3x the alleged rent overcharge). Therefore, if you only have a $20 overcharge claim for a period of three (3) years you may be entitled to an overcharge of $1,440.00.
Finally, some believe that the most significant change to the rent overcharge law concerns the standard in which Courts will apply when examining DHCR apartment rent histories. Now, Courts may examine an apartments entire rental history to investigate a tenants’ overcharge claims – even beyond when the tenant moved in. For example, if a tenant can point to any improper increases in their apartment’s rental history, i.e., an incorrect calculation of renewal lease rent increases or fraudulently inflated improvements upon vacancy, a landlord faces enormous financial liability – mandated trebled damages, attorneys fees, costs, and interest.
Economists are concerned that these changes will and have already had an impact on the purchase and sale of rent regulated buildings.
As a landlord, our office can help assist in review and examination of rental histories for rent regulated apartments to determine any potential liabilities a prospective buyer or seller may face. And, as a tenant, our office can request and review your DHCR rent history to determine if you may have a rent overcharge claim against your landlord.
The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to rent overcharge in New York are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning a rent overcharge and otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, Singh & Rani, LLP can assist you. Attorney advertisement. Prior results to not guarantee similar outcome.