If you’re a landlord being sued for rent overcharge and you’ve spent a significant amount of money renovating the apartment you better be able to prove that you spent enough on those improvements to justify a rent increase.
If you can’t prove the amount you invested in the improvements, not only can the rent be rolled back to its prior level, your tenant will now be rent stabilized and you may be on the hook to pay treble damages to your tenant. That’s triple the amount of rent overcharge in dispute.
5 Forms of Proof a Landlord Needs to Dispute Rent Overcharge in Court
#1: Proof of payment
Be prepared to produce proof of payment to contractors and service professionals in the form of canceled checks, credit card receipts and cash receipts.
#2: Proof of materials expense
Don’t forget to include receipts for the cost of materials.
#3: Estimates, contracts and invoices
Back up your proof of payment to contractors by providing their original estimates, contracts and invoices.
#4: Written sworn statement
Obtain an affidavit from each of the contractors that performed work for the amounts paid and the work done.
#5: Supporting documents
Provide any other evidence that would corroborate that the work was performed: tax returns showing the deduction taken for the money spent, permits, plans followed with the city, photos, etc.