Am I required to contact my landlord or my landlord's representative(s) prior to filing a complaint?
No. Although it is recommended that a tenant contact their landlord or their landlord's representative(s) prior to filing a complaint, in case there was a mistake that can be resolved internally, tenants are not required to do so.
What do I do if a lease renewal is offered to me after August 1st, but before the fair market rent guideline is decided by the Rent Guidelines Board?
On August 1st, a rent freeze went into effect for properties covered by the ETPA. Building/unit owners should not offer new leases until the fair market rent guideline is established by the Rent Guidelines Board. If offered a new lease regardless, tenants may A. Inform their landlord about the rent freeze and resist signing the new lease and/or B. If concerned about potential eviction, sign the new lease, and then after the guideline is decided, file an overcharge complaint (RA-89, Fair Market Rent Appeal) challenging the rent amount.
If I believe that I am experiencing a rent overcharge, should I continue to pay the increased rent while my complaint is being processed and investigated?
Yes. Tenants should pay the rent amount listed on their current (signed) lease. If a rent or other specific overcharge is found, the tenant will receive an appropriate rent reduction/refund.
Do I have to consent to an Individual Apartment Improvement (IAI) increase?
No. A tenant may deny an IAI, and IAI rent increase. If the improvement in question is related to a necessary or essential service/appliance that is typically provided by the owner, such as a working refrigerator, the owner must repair it, regardless of whether or not the apartment resident consents to an IAI increase. An IAI increase cannot be applied unless a tenant sumits written consent.
Can owners impose a Major Capital Improvement (MCI) increase without tenant consent?
As part of the application process for an MCI increase, tenants are given the opportunity to submit written responses. Individually, or as part of a Tenant's Association, tenants may challenge and oppose an MCI increase before it is granted. Tenants can also file a formal complaint during/after the MCI, in the case that the MCI is incomplete/defective, the building owner did not properly document or calculate costs, etc. A list of specific MCI overcharge scenarios can be found under question 7, page 6 of FACT SHEET 24.