Friday, July 17, 2015

The Rent Is Too Damn High

Frightened woman in fashionable, white apartment. copyright: PlusONE/Shutterstock.com

The tenant lived in an apartment building in Brooklyn for several years. She dutifully paid her rent to her landlord. After several years, she discovered that the rental amount she was paying exceeded the legally-allowed amount for her rent-stabilized apartment according to New York State law.

DHCR Rent Overcharge

After the tenant realized that she was paying higher-than-permitted rent, she filed a Rent Overcharge Application with the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). The DHCR, a State agency, enforces the regulations as to how much rent a landlord may legally charge a tenant. (Point in fact: A tenant may also commence a court case for rent overcharge or assert the claim as a defense in a Housing Court proceeding brought by the landlord). In this case, the tenant proved to the Rent Administrator that there was a rent overcharge by the landlord which exceeded the legal regulated rent.

Penalty phase

Once the DHCR determined that the tenant was overcharged for rent, an appropriate penalty was to be assessed against the landlord. Sometimes, the penalty is merely the amount above the legal regulated rent plus accrued interest. Other times, as in this case, the penalty for a willful overcharge equals three times the amount of the overcharge (treble damages) for two years prior to filing the complaint. In this case, the landlord was penalized with treble damages as detailed in the Final Order.

The Final Order of the Rent Administrator was timely challenged by the landlord through its filing of a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) with the DHCR Commissioner (which had to be done within 35 days of the Order to stop the tenant from collecting the penalty). After the landlord’s PAR was decided and the landlord lost again, the landlord timely filed a court proceeding known as an “Article 78” to further challenge the DHCR’s Final Order and Order after the PAR (which had to be done within 60 days after the PAR Order). The state court judge determined in the Article 78 proceeding that the DHCR acted appropriately and sustained the treble damage award.

Enforcement of the DHCR Final Order

Now that the DHCR Order was final, the tenant needed to collect the money from the landlord. She retained Richard A. Klass, Your Court Street Lawyer, to collect the debt.

Under DHCR rules, a tenant may enforce the rent overcharge order either through certain deductions from current rent due to the landlord or through entering a money judgment with the County Clerk’s Office (this option is usually selected when the amount is very large or the tenant has moved from the apartment already). Here, the Judgment was entered against the landlord and enforcement measures were immediately taken to collect the Judgment, including docketing a lien against the landlord’s apartment building and issuing an Execution to the Sheriff to levy upon the landlord/judgment debtor. After the full-court press by Richard A. Klass, the Judgment was collected and the tenant received payment pursuant to the DHCR Rent Overcharge finding.

— by Richard A. Klass, Esq.

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copyr. 2015 Richard A. Klass, Esq.
Image at top: copyright: PlusONE/Shutterstock.com
The firm's website: www.CourtStreetLaw.com
Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to RichKlass@courtstreetlaw.com with any questions.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Appointment to Grievance Committee: Richard Klass

Richard A. Klass, has been appointed to serve a 4-year term on the Grievance Committee for the Appellate Division Second Department for the Second, Eleventh and Thirteenth Judicial Districts.

Members of the Grievance Committee serve to maintain the honesty, integrity and professional competence of the legal profession and protect the general public by enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct.


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copyr. 2015 Richard A. Klass, Esq.
The firm's website: www.CourtStreetLaw.com
Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to RichKlass@courtstreetlaw.com with any questions.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ninth Incarnation of Trade Brooklyn Largest Ever

This past April, the Law Firm of Richard A. Klass was pleased to participate in Trade Brooklyn. This year's show, with the theme "Year of the Entrepreneur," was focused on the interests of small business owners. Over 150 New York City businesses were present. Jonathan Levin of Cardinal Trade Group helped produce the show which included over 18 seminars on topics such as search engine optimization, marketing and social media.

The Brooklyn Bar Association ("BBA") hosted a continuing legal education ("CLE") course entitled “The Importance of Legal Counsel for Small Businesses” presented by lawyers Richard A. Klass, Gregory S. Lisi and Jeffrey R. Miller. BBA's CLE Director Danielle Levine described the course as being "crafted specifically so that it would appeal to lawyers and give non-lawyers valuable information too."

Rob Abruzzese, with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, wrote an article about the Trade Brooklyn show which you can find by following this link.

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copyr. 2015 Richard A. Klass, Esq.
The firm's website: www.CourtStreetLaw.com
Richard A. Klass, Esq., maintains a law firm engaged in civil litigation in Brooklyn Heights, New York. He may be reached at (718) COURT-ST or e-ml to RichKlass@courtstreetlaw.com with any questions.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.