The Real Deal New York

Landlord who owes tenant $112K loses appeal

Hamilton Heights building owner ignored rent freeze
March 24, 2015 12:45PM

A tenant who was overcharged on his rent-regulated Hamilton Heights apartment for years may now be able to collect $112,000 after state housing officials denied the landlord’s appeal.

In June, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal found that landlord Nevei Bais owed tenant Ramon Hernandez $112,000. Bais was found to have ignored a rent freeze imposed in 1993 on his building at 701 St. Nicholas Avenue in Hamilton Heights, that should have kept the rent on Hernandez’s four-bedroom apartment at $233. Tamrak Management Corp., the building’s management company, claimed it should not be held responsible.

Hernandez paid $1,300 beginning in 2006 when he moved in, DNAinfo reported.

The appellate panel denied Bais’ argument that he should not be held responsible because the rent was frozen before he bought the building, finding it was not supported by the facts.

The rent was frozen when the tenant at the time, who was not Hernandez, complained about building conditions. While it could have been unfrozen, the repairs were never made, according to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

“Despite having knowledge of the rent reduction order in 1993, the petitioner took no action over the next 20 years to adjust the rent in accordance with the order and did not file an application to restore the rent until 2013,” according to the order issued Wednesday.

Hernandez is currently traveling in the Dominican Republic and it is unclear if he knows about the court victory. [DNAinfo] — Tess Hofmann