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Seeking compensation for rent overcharge

In our previous post we began looking into the topic of rent stabilization overcharges leading tenants to seek their day in court. Some tenants have been successful, in some cases winning or settling for significant sums of money.

As ProPublica points out, many tenants do not know their rights, and landlords may take advantage of the system at tenants' expense. Landlords are not required by law to directly inform tenants of their rights. But landlords are not allowed to charge more than the legal regulated rent, and must register the apartment with the state annually and provide tenants with a copy of the registration.

Tenants are allowed to challenge rents and obtain overcharges for up to four years before the date of the complaint. Tenants also have the right to recover interest, reasonable costs and attorney's fees. If the overcharge was willful, a tenant is entitled to treble damages for up to two years prior to filing the complaint, and the landlord has the burden of proving that overcharges were not willful.

Tenants impacted by rent stabilization violations can contact the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal for assistance, but may be advised to contact a legal advocate who will zealously represent them in court.

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