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Rent stabilization violations prompt tenants to seek compensation in court

In New York City rent stabilization is an important protection for low-income communities where individuals are unable to effectively cope with the vagaries of the housing market. Rent stabilization protects tenants from sharp increases in rent and guarantees the right to lease renewal. There are about one million rent stabilized apartments citywide.

Rent stabilization works as intended only when it is effectively enforced. Unfortunately, the agency responsible for enforcing the law has in recent times taken a rather lax approach. According to recent reporting by ProPublica, thousands of landlords who did not abide by city-set rent limits were given a "get out of jail free" card by the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Back in January, the agency issued letters to landlords in violation of the law requesting compliance with rent stabilization going forward. Surprisingly, tenants were not informed of the lack of compliance, and landlords were not compelled to compensate tenants who had been overcharged.

The division's lax approach has convinced some tenants to seek their day in court. In our next post, we'll continue looking at this story and see how an experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help rent-stabilized tenants who have been overcharged to seek redress in court.

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