AK 110651 RO
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK   11433



          ----------------------------------X     S.J.R. 2651
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW 
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: AK 110651 RO  

                     HERITAGE HOUSE,
                                                  DRO DOCKET NO.:  Q 3120454 R
                                                  TENANT:  LARRY KENIGSBERG
                                  PETITIONER
          ----------------------------------X                                   


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


          On February 21, 1992, an Order was issued granting  the  tenant's
          request  for  reconsideration  of  an   Order   issued   by   the
          Commissioner  on  January  10,  1992   concerning   the   housing
          accommodation  known  as  143-30  38th  Avenue,   Apartment   7D,
          Flushing, New York wherein the Commissioner granted in  part  the
          owner's petition for administrative review.

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

          On November 20, 1986, the above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          October 27, 1986 by the Rent Administrator, 10  Columbus  Circle,
          New  York,  New  York  concerning  the  above-referenced  housing
          accommodation  wherein  the  Administrator  determined  that   an
          overcharge had occurred.

          On August 12, 1987, the Commissioner issued an Order and  Opinion
          denying the petitioner's administrative appeal.

          Subsequent thereto the petitioner filed a petition in the Supreme 
          Court, Queens County pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice 
          Law and Rules requesting that the order of  the  Commissioner  be
          annulled.

          On May 6, 1991, an order was signed by Justice  Lerner  remitting
          the  proceeding  to  the  Division  for  further   consideration,
          specifically  directing   the   Division   to   reconstruct   the
          administrative record (lost during the Court proceeding)  and  to
          determine the  matter  on  the  basis  of  the  decision  in  JRD
          Management Inc. v. Eimicke, 148 A.D. 2d 610.

          The tenant originally commenced this proceeding by filing a  rent
          overcharge complaint on March 31, 1984.







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          In its answer, the owner set forth  the  rental  history  of  the
          subject  apartment  from  December  1979   through   April   1987
          although there is no evidence that it  submitted  any  leases  or
          other documentation in support thereof.

          Based upon the owner's failure to submit a  full  rental  history
          of the subject  apartment,  the  Administrator  applied  approved
          default procedures to establish the lawful stabilization rent  at
          $311.00 as of March 24, 1984 and directed the owner to roll  back
          the rent and to refund an overcharge of  $2,533.68  inclusive  of
          excess security and treble damages on  the  overcharge  collected
          on and after April 1, 1984.

          On appeal, the owner alleged inter alia  that  it  did  submit  a
          complete rental history, that treble damages should not have been 
          imposed and as the tenant had failed to file an objection to  the
          1984 registration, the rent charged on  April  1,  1984  was  the
          lawful rent.

          The Commissioner's Order and Opinion of August 12, 1987,  denying
          the owner's administrative appeal, found that the record did  not
          substantiate the owner's assertion that it had submitted a rental 
          history but found instead that the record as well as the  owner's
          failure  to  submit  proof  of  its  assertion  with  the  appeal
          sustained  the  Administrator's  finding  that  the   owner   had
          defaulted.

          With respect to the remaining issue raised  in  the  appeal,  the
          Commissioner found that the  assessment  of  treble  damages  was
          appropriate.   The owner had been notified in a "Final Notice  of
          Pending Default" of the consequences, including the methods to be 
          used in establishing  the  rent  and  the  imposition  of  treble
          damages on overcharges which the owner had failed  to  show  were
          not willful, attendant on the  owner's  failure  to  provide  the
          required rental history.

          The Commissioner also determined that the owner's contention with 
          regard to the lawfulness of the April 1, 1984 rent was incorrect. 
          Since the tenant's overcharge complaint was  pending  before  the
          Administrator, the tenant was  not  required  to  file  a  second
          complaint involving the same issue.

          In  the  order  issued  on  January  10,  1992,   accepting   the
          unsubstantiated  rental  history  submitted  by  the  owner   and
          pursuant to the Court's directive, the Commissioner  granted  the
          owner's petition in part and modified the Administrator's  order,
          establishing the lawful rent at $373.36 and directing a refund of 
          $210.15 including excess security and treble damages.

          By letter dated January 27, 1992, the tenant requested re-opening 
          of the  Administrative  proceeding  and  reconsideration  of  the
          January 10, 1992 order.

          Based upon an irregularity in a  vital  matter-the  absence  from
          the record of supporting documentation for the  rent  history  as
          set forth by the owner, the tenant's request for  reconsideration
          was granted.

          In response, the owner submitted a lease dated February  3,  1982






          AK 110651 RO
          which, it asserted, proved that there  was  no  overcharge.   The
          owner stated that it had no  leases  for  the  subject  apartment
          prior to February 3, 1982 and asserted in  substance  that  since
          the tenant had failed to object to the initial  registered  rent,
          the rent registered on April 1, 1984 was the legal rent  and  any
          alleged overcharge prior to April 1, 1984 was inapplicable.

          In reply, the tenant contends that  utilization  of  the  default
          procedure to determine the legal rent is appropriate because  the
          owner failed to produce all leases from April 1,  1980  to  March
          1984.

          The  Commissioner  is  of  the  opinion  that  the  Petition  for
          Administrative Review should be denied.

          Section 26-516 of the Rent Stabilization Law, effective April  1,
          1984, limited an owner's obligation to provide  rent  records  by
          providing that an owner  may  not  be  required  to  maintain  or
          produce rent records for more than four years prior to  the  most
          recent registration.  Pursuant to  Section  26-516,  the  instant
          owner was required to produce rent records from April 1, 1980.

          A review of the record reveals that the owner failed  to  satisfy
          its legal obligation and submitted  no  leases  for  the  subject
          apartment for any period prior to February 3, 1982.  Accordingly,
          the Commissioner finds that the  Administrator  did  not  err  in
          defaulting the owner and utilizing default procedures approved by 
          the courts to determine the lawful stabilization rent.

          Section 26-516 further provides for a penalty of  treble  damages
          when an owner is found to have  collected  a  willful  overcharge
          unless the owner  shall  establish  by  a  preponderance  of  the
          evidence that the overcharge was not willful.  The  owner  herein
          was fully apprised that treble damages would be  imposed  on  any
          rent overcharge collected on or after April  1,  1984  should  it
          fail   to   establish    non-willfulness.     Accordingly,    the
          Administrator did not err in imposing treble  damages  since  the
          owner submitted no evidence to show that the overcharge  was  not
          willful.

          The Commissioner is further  of  the  opinion  that  the  owner's
          contention with respect to the legality of the  rent  charged  on
          April 1, 1984 is incorrect.  The tenant's complaint was filed  in
          March 1984 before the effective date of  the  Rent  Stabilization
          Law whose registration provisions were not designed  to  cut  off
          the rights of tenants who had filed complaints prior to April  1,
          1984.   The owner was required to register the legal rent,  whose
          determination  required  resolution  of  the   tenant's   pending
          challenge  to  the  rent  charged.   The  tenant  was  under   no
          obligation to file a second complaint involving the same issue.

          Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that  the  Administrator  did
          not err in establishing the lawful stabilization rent at  $311.00
          as of March 24, 1984 through March 31, 1985 and in directing  the
          owner to refund $2,533.68 inclusive of excess security and treble 
          damages on the overcharge collected on and after April 1, 1984.

          Because this determination concerns  lawful  rents  only  through
          March 31, 1985, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rents 






          AK 110651 RO
          to an amount no greater than that determinated by this order plus 
          any lawful increases, and to register  any  adjusted  rents  with
          this order and opinion being given as  the  explanation  for  the
          adjustment.

          Since the record reveals that the tenant has vacated the  subject
          apartment, a copy of this order is  being  sent  to  the  current
          tenant.

          This order may, upon the expiration of the period  in  which  the
          owner may institute a proceeding pursuant to Article  78  of  the
          Civil Practice Law and Rules, be filed and enforced in  the  same
          manner as a judgment.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same  hereby  is,  denied
          and the Rent Administrator's order be, and the  same  hereby  is,
          affirmed.

          ISSUED:

                                                  ------------------------
                                                  JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                  Acting Deputy Commissioner
    

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