Patrick Munson Secures Favorable Decision for Landlords in Rent Overcharge Claim

The Appellate Division, First Department issued a favorable decision for landlords in a rent overcharge case. Patrick Munson, Of Counsel at KMWB, represented the landlord. The case commenced when a tenant filed a claim against her landlord alleging her midtown Manhattan apartment was incorrectly deregulated and that her monthly rent constituted an illegal rent overcharge.

To disprove the tenant’s claim, KMWB provided all prior leases for the subject apartment. The lease history indicated the legal rent reached the rent threshold amount to qualify for deregulation several years prior to the tenant filing the complaint. The landlord also provided proof that in 1990, two years before the landlords purchased the subject building, the previous owners made improvements to the apartment qualifying it for a legal rent increase. To further prove that there was no overcharge, Mr. Munson calculated the legal rent to show that even without the legal increase for the improvements, the regulated rent still would have surpassed the deregulation threshold amount.

The Appellate Division, First Department upheld the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment and found the plaintiff’s arguments unavailing. Further, the court held that the plaintiff failed to prove “any indicia of fraud” that would permit looking beyond the four-year statute of limitations for rent overcharge claims.