rent control issues...where is the burden of proof - Posted by Chyna

Posted by Len on July 12, 2009 at 15:08:18:

Looking at what you say that she has lived there some 35 years and her rent is $136 and you are wanting to raise it to current market, it would seem that the burden of proof would be on you to show that you can raise the rent. Otherwise, it’s obvious that you would have increased the rent by now.

Regardless of whether she moved in before or after the deadline, she has the historical advantage of 35 years that solidifies her position that you are going to have to overcome in any type of proceeding.

So, the burden of proof comes back to you being able to show that the facts are in your favor to increase the rent.

Do your research and make sure of your position and if you feel the facts bear out your position, I would proceed accordingly. However, as you have already discovered, I’m sure that it will not be done without a fight on her side.

Good luck!

rent control issues…where is the burden of proof - Posted by Chyna

Posted by Chyna on July 12, 2009 at 12:02:18:

I am beginning to wonder if my rent control tenant did, in fact, move into her apartment before the deadline back in the 70’s, I have the exact date but it’s not handy right now but it’s at least 35 years ago.

She pays $136 a month, I could get $2000. I tried to buy her out but she refused my humble offers and I couldn’t go any higher.

I have not been able to find an attorney reaaly knowledgeable in this area so I thought I’d start by asking here.

I assume I can retain an attorney to challenge her rent control status but where does the burden of proof lie? Must I proove that she moved in after the deadline or must she prove that she moved in before?

I checked with the last few owners of the building…no one ever challenged her status before. I did some digging when I bought the building but couldn’t find records that go back that far.

Thanks very much,

Re: rent control issues … - Posted by Frank Chin

Posted by Frank Chin on July 16, 2009 at 04:50:26:

Have you tried the “rent control” office. They are supposed to maintain records of tenants moving in as well as for lease renewals, and landlords have to file paperwork to get the increases there.

I never wanted to own a “rent controlled” unit, but friends of mine who did always complained about the procedures.

If I was paying $136/month, if I take a $100,000 payout from you, after paying market rents of $2000/month, I would be homeless after 4 years, so it makes no sense.

do some detective work first - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on July 13, 2009 at 19:10:27:

Wouldn’t one of the utility companies be able to show the start date for
her account?

There should be public records at the libraries from the 70s…not
phone books, but resident directories for cities/villages. I haven’t seen
one in awhile, but the ones used were still the libraries in NY and NJ in
the 80s, going way back. They may be on microfiche now.

A buyout could be pretty prohibitive. She would need at least $2000 a
month to replace her living expenses if market rents are what you say
(and I know they are). $24K per year, for 20 years? 30 years? plus
hardship of moving. She’s not going anywhere.

I know there are some attorneys who would love to take your case and
lose. All in a day’s pay and billable hours. I suggest going the
detective route first. If you can’t do the research yourself there are
others that can. Once you find some kind of evidence that her start
date is after the deadline, then you hire the attorney. Are you sure
she’s not there as someone who inherited the rent control status?