NYCLT testimony on Rule 2-12 Rent Adjustments

The purpose of the Loft Law is to make buildings safe and bring order to a chaotic situation. One of the most chaotic and agonizing problems for loft tenants is the issue of rent, and the Loft Board has an opportunity to make more sense out of rent in Rule 2-12.

Loft landlords are used to asking for increases haphazardly, based on what they think they can get and how much they like particular tenants. In many or most loft buildings, the landlords are still asking for illegal increases two years after the law passed, even where tenants have told them they aren’t allowed increases until they reach compliance milestones.

So heading into the IMD process it’s still unclear when a milestone increase is due and what the legal rent is. The investigation is left entirely up to tenants.

We ask that the Loft Board bring a little bit of clarity to this situation. Please require that landlords notify tenants of milestone increases by filling out a form and sending copies to the tenants and to the Loft Board. And please provide a simple way for tenants to retrieve this information from their file. This is similar to how DHCR keeps track of rent rolls in rent stabilized buildings.

As we testified in previous hearings, tenants moving into covered units after June 2010 are often charged much more than the legal rent. Although they will still have to apply or be added to the building registration to find out their correct rent, having a record of the legal rent on file will bring them one step closer.

We also ask that the Loft Board allow written comment on this rule until Rule 2-01 has been considered, because these rules are tied tightly together. In particular it is unclear how the implementation of the new “no work” clause in the Law will affect rent adjustments.

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