AL 510243 RT
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: AL-510243-RT

                      MARIANNE JOHANSSON,         DRO DOCKET NO.: L-000636-R

                                                  OWNER:   MURRIMAC  REALTY  CORP


          On December 23, 1986, the above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          November 19, 1986, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, 
          New York New York, concerning the  housing  accommodations  known
          as 1256 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York  Apartment  No.  4A,
          wherein the Rent Administrator  determined  that  the  owner  had
          overcharged the tenant.

          The Administrative Appeal is being  determined  pursuant  to  the
          provisions of Section 2526.1 of the Rent Stabilization Code.

          The issue herein is whether the Rent  Administrator's  order  was

          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  August
          1984 of a rent overcharge complaint by the tenant who  stated  in
          substance that she believes the owner was overcharging her.

          In answer to the complaint, the owner stated in substance that
          the tenant's building had less than six apartments and  therefore
          was not subject to the Rent Stabilization Law.

          In Order Number L-000636-R (CDR-27,021), the  Rent  Administrator
          established the lawful stabilization rent  as  $599.20  effective
          July 1, 1984, determined that the  tenant  had  been  overcharged
          and directed a refund to  the  tenant  of  $  2,740.60  including
          interest on that portion  of  the  overcharge  collected  on  and
          after April 1, 1984.

          AL 510243 RT
          In this petition, the tenant alleges in substance that she should 
          be awarded attorney's fees  and  treble  damages  concerning  the
          overcharge found by the Administrator.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition  should  be

          With regard to the tenant's contention that treble damages should 
          have been imposed, section 2526.1 of the Rent Stabilization  Code
          provides in pertinent part that any owner who  is  found  by  the
          Division  of  Housing  and  Community  Renewal  (DHCR)  to   have
          collected a rent or other consideration in excess  of  the  legal
          regulated rent on and after April 1, 1984 shall be ordered to pay 
          to the tenant a penalty equal to three times the amount  of  such
          excess.  If the owner  establishes  by  a  preponderance  of  the
          evidence that the overcharge was  not  willful,  the  DHCR  shall
          establish the penalty  as  the  amount  of  the  overcharge  plus
          interest from the date of the first overcharge on or after  April
          1, 1984.

          In the instant case, the  owner  claimed  the  building  was  not
          subject to  the  Rent  Stabilization  Laws  because  the  subject
          building contained less than six apartments.  This  argument,  by
          the  owner,  was  ultimately  found  to  be  erroneous   as   the
          Administrator found the subject  building  to  be  a  part  of  a
          horizontal multiple dwelling sharing a common  boiler.   However,
          the owner did establish by a preponderance of the evidence,  that
          the overcharge was not willful as  the  owner  had  a  legitimate
          reason to believe that the subject apartment was not  stabilized.

          Accordingly, the imposition of treble damages was not warranted.

          With regard to the tenant's contention that she should have  been
          awarded attorney's fees, it is noted  that  pursuant  to  Section
          2526.1 (d) of the Rent  Stabilization  Code,  the  assessment  of
          attorney's fees is discretionary.   Under  the  circumstances  of
          this case, including the  arguments  raised  by  the  parties  in
          support  of  their  contentions,  the   Commissioner   deems   it
          inappropriate to award attorney's fees.  

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

          ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and the 
          same  hereby  is,  denied,  and,  that  the  Order  of  the  Rent
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, affirmed.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner


          AL 510243 RT


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