Judge Diane E. Lutwak

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Landlord claimed tenant Hall owed rent and additional rent of over $6,000 in this nonpayment proceeding. Hall denied the allegations and asserted there were conditions in need of repair in the apartment. She sought leave to amend the answer to raise a defense, and counterclaim, of retaliatory increase in preferential rent—for her successful defenses in prior nonpayment and holdover proceedings, and for discovery. Hall alleged a rent overcharge claiming landlord raised the preferential rent by more than six times the usual increase. She argued she demonstrated ample need for discovery as she asserted facts to establish a cause of action by submitting the rent registration, leases and abatement decision to assert her defense of rent overcharge and retaliation. The court noted the lease rider clearly indicated the preferential rent was being offered only for the initial term of the lease, and upon renewal, landlord was entitled to charge the maximum legal rent including permissible increases. Also, no justification was provided for looking beyond the permissible four year look back period, but even looking from 1999, there were no unexplained or illegal increases. Thus, Hall did not establish ample need to obtain requested information, and discovery was denied.