My rent is too high--How does RTC help me?

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  • A lawyer can help you figure out if your high rent is legal or not. Are you being overcharged? Are you paying fees you shouldn’t be?

    • A study in the Bronx showed that 81% of tenants were paying fees they shouldn’t be.

    • ProPublica estimates that 50,000 people have tax abatements and might be overcharged and that 50,000 people live in apartments where their rent isn’t registered correctly and therefore are potentially being overcharged.

    • Additionally,  if you are one of the 250,000 tenants who has a preferential rent, you should absolutely check to see if you are being overcharged.   

  • Are there bad conditions in your apartment or building? If so a lawyer could help you get an abatement and/or get your rent reduced.

  • If you are a senior or a person with disabilities, a lawyer might be able to help you get your rent frozen.

  • Many cases can be dismissed because landlord attorneys don’t follow the correct procedures when suing tenants. A lawyer can help you figure out if there is a procedural reason to get your case dismissed. This doesn’t solve the problem of your high rent, but it can give you both more time and more power.

  • There are many regulations that cover buildings—your landlord might have a tax abatement or another kind of regulation that helps regulate your rent, that you don’t know about and that he isn’t following. A lawyer can help you do research to find out.

  • Having a lawyer can help you avoid getting a judgment (an order against you) in Housing Court. Judgments go on your credit report and can increase your interest rates, or make it hard for you to get a loan, or find a new apartment when you have to move.

  • There are subsidies and financial assistance for tenants who are struggling to pay their rent – both to pay ongoing rent and to pay rent arrears. This can help you cover rent money that you owe, but also make your apartment affordable to you in the future. A lawyer can help you access that assistance and also get you more time in your case, so you can avoid eviction while you’re arranging that help.

  • Having a lawyer in your case, helps prevent illegal rent increases for you and also for future tenants. The more tenants have lawyers in housing court, the more we will catch landlords rent fraud and stop it. This helps keep NYC apartments affordable into the future, as well as now.

  • Have you talked to your neighbors? Is everyone’s rent too high? If so, there is power in numbers and if you organize in your building, you have the power to demand lower rents and more!  Rent is a negotiation and a reflection of our power. NYC has a long history of of tenants going on rent strike to get rents reduced in their buildings and even in their entire neighborhoods! Also there are a lot of groups out there that are working on changing the laws that allow your rent to go up! Get involved with your local tenant organizing group to find out how to organize in your building and how to get involved in the larger tenant organizing movement!