Is Your Rent Control Landlord Trying to Force You Out?

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Is Your Rent Control Landlord Trying to Force You Out?

Oh My Apartment · Jul 28, 2008

As a general rule, landlords aren’t exactly in favor of rent controls. There are plenty of tactics they use to work around rent controls, including trying to force out current tenants so that the landlord can adjust the rent to market rates, thereby leasing to higher-paying renters.

If you feel that your landlord might be trying such a scheme on you, you need to learn your rights in the matter.

Your rights as a renter are different depending on which state you live in. The OhMyApartment Renter’s Resources page is divided by state, giving you links to information on your rights in each state.

You also need to recognize warning signs that your landlord is encouraging to you to move out, aside from obvious threats and coercion. Some landlords employ subtle techniques, but just because they are quiet about it doesn’t mean that you can’t protect yourself.

Darren Stern, a landlord who owned many rental properties through California-based Landmark Equity Management Inc., tried to convince tenants in rent-controlled properties to move out. He refused to make repairs to the point of criminal negligence, lied to tenants and illegally raised rents. Stern used a number of tactics against his tenants for over six years. It took tenants who knew their rights to bring his actions to the attention of the San Fernando Valley city attorney, who finally brought Stern to justice.

If you’re facing unfair eviction from a rent-controlled apartment–or even some form of coercion to convince you to leave on your own–it may be hard to prove. Do your best to document any instances of coercion or threats; even something as simple as writing down dates can be helpful in the long run. Furthermore, you can insist that your landlord do things by the books if he’s actually trying to evict you.

Some unscrupulous landlords might inform you that you’re being evicted, but skip the paperwork. In areas with rent-controlled housing, like New York City, a landlord must complete a specific form before carrying out an eviction on a rent-controlled apartment. In NYC, the form is called an “Owner’s Application for Order Granting Approval to Refuse Renewal of Lease and/or to Proceed for Eviction for Owner Occupancy.” Even if it’s granted, your landlord will need to go to court to evict you, giving you the opportunity to prove that it is an unfair eviction.

Just remember that as a tenant, you have rights.

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