This is a landlord-tenant action wherein plaintiff seeks possession on the grounds of nonpayment of rent. Defendants concede that the rent reserved under a lease dated March 1, 1972 was not paid for the months of April and May 1972. However, defendants did tender for the months in question the amount of the rent reserved in their prior lease which expired March 31, 1972. The prior rent was $430 a month. The new rent is $476 a month. Additional parking charges are not involved in this contest.
The tenants raise the following defenses:
1. The landlord failed to comply with the notice requirements of section 301.501 et seq. of the rules and regulations
of the Cost of Living Council. 6 CFR § 301.501 (12/30/71).
2. The rental increase charged by the landlord is in excess of that permitted by said rules and regulations.
3. They should be allowed a set-off against the rent for interest due them, which accrued on their security deposit under the expired lease.
The landlord admits that the notice to the tenants does not strictly comply with section 301.501 et seq. , but argues that the section was complied with in substance if not in form. It also contends that it strictly followed the formula prescribed to arrive at the new rental of $476 a month. In regard to the third defense, the landlord contends that a tenant is not entitled to set-off interest due on money deposited as security in an interest-bearing account, as required by L. 1971, c. 223.
The notice given by the landlord and admittedly received by the tenants was dated January 26, 1972 and reads as follows:
OFFICE OF THE UNDERSIGNED
147 West 42nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10036
Mr.(s) Martin Aranow Apt. 6-L, 2185 Lemoine Avenue, Fort Lee, N.J. 07024
As of the 29th of December, 1971, a statement was issued by the Price Commission outlining the procedures and regulations which are to govern rent increases during the President's Freeze.
Please, therefore, consider this as notification that as of April 1, 1972, your new rental will be $476.00, and is within the allowed percentage of 8% plus 2.5% permitted within your building.
The apartments for which renewals were written during the base rent period and upon which the computations for Bridge Plaza Towers were determined, are as follows: