With the 2021 rent registration cycle officially opened, a recent Bronx Court decision should serve as reminder that building owners must register their rents properly.
In March, Judge Bryant Tovar in Bronx County Court dismissed a nonpayment petition filed in 2019, where the monthly rent sought was registered at $1,905.54 per month, but was actually $1,897.50 per month according to the lease.
Even though the Court acknowledged, in Erik James LLC v. Bruna, that the error amounted to a difference of $8.54 for two of the months sought in the petition, or a total discrepancy of $17.08 in the amount of rent arrears sought, the Court went on to dismiss the nonpayment proceeding due to the property owner’s failure to register the current rent amount with DHCR, as required by 9 NYCRR Section 2528.3 and RSC Section 2528.4(a).
Based on this decision, it is imperative that the rent that appears on the registration with DHCR matches the exact amount on the lease or lease renewal for each tenant, down to the cent, since even a minimal error can render any nonpayment proceeding defective and result in dismissal.
If you have not used RSA’s Rent Registration Service in the past, we encourage you to contact RSA as soon as possible so that our experienced staff can assist you and ensure that all of your rents are registered properly. See page 5 for more information, or call (212) 214-9200.