(PIX11) -- A Harlem resident who learned he was being overcharged for his rent and fought back is still trying to collect the $112,000 "jackpot" he was awarded by the state last summer.
Ramon Hernandez, 55, moved in 2006 to an apartment at 701 Saint Nicholas Ave. paying $1,300 a month for his four-bedroom, DNAinfo reports. The building had rats and holes in the kitchen floors but Hernandez figured it was a fair deal. Turns out, those building problems had been an issue for more than 20 years and would soon play a role in Hernandez's legal battles.
Hernandez told DNAinfo a neighbor put him in touch with tenant advocacy group Pa'Lante and they helped him uncover the truth about his apartment: the legal rent was actually $233 a month. He was being grossly overcharged, even though the state froze the building's legal rent in 1993 until the landlord fixed the rat problems, heating issues and broken appliances.
Emily Goldstein, of the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development, visited PIX11 News Tuesday to explain how other New Yorkers who suspect they're being overcharged to live in the boroughs can learn about their own rights and fight for fairness:
- Visit nyc.gov/hpd for a list of everyone who has called 311 in your building and see official violations committed by your landlord
- Call or go in person to the Department of Homes and Community Renewal with proof of residency to receive an official rent history and records of your building