STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: AK 110358-RO   
                                                 DRO DOCKET NOS.:           
                                                 CDR 25610                  
                 HUNTER COMPANY,
                                                 TENANT: Daniel Romanello   

                              PETITIONER      : 


               On November 13, 1986 the above named petitioner-owner  filed
          a Petition for Administrative Review against an order  issued  on
          October 24, 1986 by the District Rent Administrator, 10  Columbus
          Circle, New York,  New  York  concerning  housing  accommodations
          known as Apartment D15 at 147-41 38th Avenue, Flushing, New  York
          wherein the District Rent Administrator determined that the owner 
          had overcharged the tenant.

               The issue in  this  appeal  is  whether  the  District  Rent
          Administrator's order was warranted.

               The applicable sections of the Law are Section 26-516 of the 
          Rent Stabilization Law, Section 2526.1(a)  of  the  current  Rent
          Stabilization Code and Sections 2(m) and 20C of the  former  Rent
          Stabilization Code. 

               The Commissioner has reviewed all of  the  evidence  in  the
          record and has carefully considered that portion  of  the  record
          relevant to the issue raised by the administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was originally commenced by  the  filing  in
          March, 1984 of a rent overcharge  complaint  by  the  tenant,  in
          which he stated that he had commenced occupancy on June  1,  1980
          at a rent of $332.35 per month.  

               The owner was served with a copy of the  complaint  and  was
          requested to submit rent records to prove the lawfulness  of  the
          rent being charged.   In  answer  to  the  complaint,  the  owner

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: AK 110358-RO
          submitted a  complete  rental  history  from  the  base  date  as

               In an order issued on October 24,  1986  the  District  Rent
          Administrator determined that the tenant had been overcharged  in
          the amount of $317.67 as of May 31, 1985, and directed the  owner
          to refund such overcharge to the tenant as well as to reduce  the
          rent.  The overcharge ($4.69 per  month  in  the  tenant's  first
          lease and $5.44 per month in his next lease) occurred because the 
          Administrator disallowed an increase for an air conditioner.  

               In this petition, the owner contends in substance that there 
          was no rent overcharge in that the District Rent  Administrator's
          order mistakenly assumed that the air conditioner charge was  for
          the installation of a unit by the owner, whereas it was  actually
          for permission for the tenant to install his own unit;  and  that
          New York City Conciliation and Appeals Board [C.A.B] opinions  at
          the time were allowing a charge of as much as  $10.00  per  month
          for the privilege.    

               In answer, the tenant asserts in substance that he  was  not
          notified of any extra charges; and that he currently has  no  air
          conditioner because of the installation of new windows. 

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should 
          be granted.

               C.A.B.policy was to allow "reasonable  charges"  for  tenant
          installation of air conditioners,  where  permission  to  install
          such units was not  a  base  date  service.   Once  granted,  the
          permission became a required service which had to continue to  be
          granted to succeeding tenants.  The lawful increase would be  the
          initial  charge  plus  Guidelines  increase.   (Accord:    C.A.B.
          Opinion No.  4165)   Increases  up  to  $10.00  were  allowed  as
          reasonable.   While  the  Administrator   determined   a   lawful
          stabilization rent of $327.66 in the tenant's initial 1980  lease
          (versus the $332.35 rent stated in the lease),  that  lease  also
          prohibited the tenant from installing his  own  air  conditioner.
          Because the owner permitted the tenant to  install  his  own  air
          conditioner despite that clause, the commissioner finds that  the

          $4.69 per month by which the tenant's  lease  rent  exceeded  the
          lawful rent otherwise  calculated  on  the  basis  of  the  prior
          tenant's  rent  should  be  considered  a   reasonable   increase
          allowable by virtue of the tenant being permitted to install  his
          own air conditioner.  The  Commissioner  notes  that,  since  the
          charge becomes part of the base rent and since the permission  is
          thereby a required service,  any  clause  in  the  lease  to  the
          contrary is invalid.  In his answer to the owner's  petition  the
          tenant states that he does not have an air conditioner due to the 
          installation of new windows.  It is not clear if this refers to a 
          permanent inability to install an  air  conditioner  due  to  the
          design of the new  windows,  or  a  temporary  inability  due  to
          construction.  If a permanent inability, and  thus  an  effective
          denial of permission to install a unit, the tenant  may  wish  to
          file a complaint of a decrease in the services for  which  he  is
          paying, or the owner may wish to apply for permission  to  remove
          that as a required service.  

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: AK 110358-RO

               Because a permanent $4.69 increase is being allowed  in  the
          tenant's initial lease, the lawful stabilization rent is  $332.35
          per month in the lease from June 1, 1980 to  May  31,  1982,  and
          $385.53 per month in the lease from  June  1,  1982  to  May  31,
          1985.  Because those are the rents actually  charged,  there  has
          been no overcharge as of May 31, 1985. 

               If the owner has already complied with  the  Administrator's
          order and there are arrears due to the owner as a result of  this
          determination, the owner is directed to allow the tenant  to  pay
          off the arrears in six equal monthly  installments.   Should  the
          tenant  vacate  after  the  issuance  of  this  order,  or   have
          previously vacated, said arrears shall be payable immediately. 

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and 
          Code, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition be,  and  the  same  hereby  is,
          granted and that the District Rent Administrator's order be,  and
          the same hereby is, revoked since there was no rent overcharge.


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name