What if you've been living in a rent-stabilized apartment and paying market-rate for it without even realizing? A new website aims to help New Yorkers potentially make that painful yet potentially delightfully lucrative discovery by allowing you to search your building address and see if your unit could be rent-stabilized under the city's rules.
The site, amirentstabilized.com, runs your building's address against the city's databases and determines if it includes rent-stabilized units, but it won't be able to tell you whether your exact apartment is rent-stabilized. If your building appears to have rent-stabilized units, the site provides links to government agencies you can contact in your investigation int whether your unit is rent-stabilized. The site even directs you to the forms you need to fill out in the event you discover you've been overcharged, according to a report by DNAinfo.
Getting swindled into paying market-rate for a rent-stabilized apartment is not unheard of, considering such a horror story came to light in the news just this week. Ramon Hernandez discovered his landlord had overcharged him by $1,000 for his Hamilton Heights apartment every month for years, and the state awarded him $112,000 last summer after he contested his rent with government authorities, DNAinfo reported. Now that's what we call justice!
So, we already have websites dedicated to telling us when the L train is running, how many days it's been since the last murder in the city, and how dig up the dirt on our landlords, but could you imagine typing your address in and eventually finding out that your landlord actually owes you money?
Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and has been doing way too much thinking about apartment hunting and moving and bills lately and it's making him a little crazy. Follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.