David Lieberman Pays $1 A Month For New York Apartment

A New Yorker is currently paying just $1 a month in rent to live in a Big Apple apartment.

The average price for a Manhattan apartment is $3,822 a month, but the 30-year-old only pays the measly sum to lease the two-bedroom apartment, which is located in the fashionable area of Harlem, and is inside a seven-story building.

Lieberman has lived there since January 2006, and court records confirm that he has only paid the minuscule amount throughout his time there.

Lieberman, who works as a film editor, is able to pay so little because of a fire that broke out in the Morningside Avenue building, which occurred over a decade ago. A decision by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal has kept the price down, and the landlord continues to try and overturn the ruling.

Lieberman originally agreed to pay $2,100 a month, and signed a two-year-lease, but just months later the real amount he needed to pay was revealed, after the previous tenants, Sonya McNair Tonge, and Deryck Tonge, started a lawsuit agains the landlord.

They believed that they had been wrongfully evicted, and wanted Lieberman to be thrown out so that could they return.

In November 2002, when they were paying $436 a month, they were forced to move out because of a fire. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal then reduced the rent to $1 a month while they oversaw the apartment brought back up to code.

A year later, when the Tonges were still living somewhere else, the landlord attempted to return the rent to $436, but his request was denied by the DHCR.

The landlord then finally finished his renovations in 2005, and the Tonges allegedly asked to return, but they were never informed when they would be allowed to.

Instead, Lieberman was shown the place, and signed a lease, but then filed a counter-lawsuit against the building, stating that he knew the apartment had been rent-stablilized, but had been led to believe it wasn’t any longer.

He then accused the landlord of overcharging him, and noted that it was “badly kept.” The Tonges eventually withdrew their lawsuit, but in 2011 Lieberman won his case against the building, and they decided to pay him $104,000 in overcharges and legal fees. Despite receiving this amount of money, the rent still remains at just $1 because of the house’s condition.

The landlord insists that he made the necessary changes to raise the rent over seven years ago, and now he’s filed a petition to raise the rent from $1 to $2,100, which the DHCR will decide on soon. He has reportedly lost $176,400 since Lieberman moved in.

[Image via Christina Richards/Shutterstock]

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