Our building is (99% sure) not rent-stabilized, which actually means that yes, our landlord can very well raise our rate 15%. However, thirty days notice must be given, not fifteen. However, they can evict us with a short thirty days notice also. And 1,500 is still probably way under the fair market price for a three bedroom in Williamsburg, so we couldn't disupte it that way.
Our lease was up at the end of August and they have been saying that they would sign a new lease with us soon, but that does nothing for us in this current situtation which makes us month-to-month tenants, meaning that they could kick us to the curb anytime they felt like it with just thirty days notice. If only, we had been more insistent about getting a new lease signed two months ago, we would not be in this boat right now.
Jillian's boyfriend, Josh, has been sleeping here every night for the past couple months. He has an apartment of his own, but appearantly our landlord thinks he lives here, because she has a camera set up at the door downstairs and appearantly watches it all the time. However, legally we can have an extra roommate according to Tenant.net, but that is not really going to help our case when we have no leverage to say we are not paying this much. I thought we had some more leverage before my research this morning, and thought we could make demands that would make them change their minds about charging so much: the installation of non-peeling floors, door handles (habitability laws require these), and mailboxes (which is required in an apartment with at least three units). But we really are not in a position to haggle with them when they can just say no, and give us a month's notice to move. There is a law against retalitory evictions, but I'm not sure if that will help us much since we are considered month to month tenants.
Did I mention that our landlord doesn't speak English, is partly deaf, and yells a lot? We are supposed to meet with her today and convince her not to raise our rent.