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

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO. ART-07967-L

                                              :  DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
               Diane Dowling,                    DOCKET NO. TC-66819-G
                                                 OWNERS:   L.  Lerman   and
                                                           M. Boucher

                                PETITIONER    : 


          On February 15, 1986, the above-named  tenant  filed  a  Petition
          for Administrative Review against an order issued on January  15,
          1986, by the  Rent  Administrator,  Columbus  Circle,  New  York,
          concerning the housing accommodations  known  as  406  West  25th
          Street, New York, New York, Apartment No. 4RW, wherein  the  Rent
          Administrator determined  that  the  owner  had  overcharged  the

          The tenant had commenced this proceeding by filing a complaint of 
          rent overcharge.  After the owner had failed to comply  with  the
          Administrator's request for a  complete  rental  history  of  the
          apartment, t e  Administrator  determined,  due  to   that   non-
          compliance, that the tenant had been overcharged in the amount of 
          $4,188.90.  He reached that determination by using  method  2  of
          the "Section-42A default" procedure utilized  by  this  Division,
          i.e., by employing as the "base" rent the tenant's initial rental 
          minus applicable "guidelines" increases. 

          The tenant now contends that the Administrator erred in using the 
          aforementioned method 2 instead of 1 or 3.  Her argument is  that
          of the three methods, number 2 here yields the higher rather than 
          the lowest base rent, contrary to  the  intent  of  this  default
          procedure.    She   asserts   specifically   that    while    the
          Administrator calculated a base rent of $300, method one, "lowest 
          rent in the same line," yields $183.21.  (In a subsequent  letter
          the tenant has stated that method three (last rent  paid  by  the
          prior tenant) would result  in  a  base  rent  of  $159.60.   But
          petitioner does not even claim to have made  that  representation
          to the Administrator, and the record contains no corroboration of 
          the asserted rental figure; therefore the Commissioner  will  not
          further consider using the prior tenant's  purported  rent  as  a
          base-setting method).

          The record contains no owner's response to the petition  although
          a copy of the tenant's petition was sent to the current owners of 
          the subject premises, Lerman and Boucher, who acquired  ownership
          sometime after April 1, 1984.


          After careful consideration of the record, the Commissioner is of 
          the opinion that the petition should be granted.

          The Rent Administrator's order rejects use of the lowest rent  in
          the line because the "[b]uilding is not registered."   Petitioner
          on the other hand asserts  that  as  "7A  Administrator"  of  the
          building, on September 3, 1985, she  personally  "registered  the
          building and the 18 stabilized apartments," and she has submitted 
          what is prima facie a photocopy  of  the  1985  Annual  Apartment
          Registration   for   rent   stabilized   apartment   5RW.     The
          Commissioner, having no reason to  impute  fraud  to  petitioner,
          therefore finds that there was a stabilized apartment in the same 
          line as the one in question, the rent for which ($183.21  on  the
          aforementioned Registration) yields a lower base than  that  used
          in the Administrator's order.  That new base rent is embodied  in
          the chart appended to this order and  opinion,  which  is  hereby
          incorporated therein.

          Section 2526.1(f) of the  Rent  Stabilization  Code  provides  in
          pertinent part that for overcharges collected prior to  April  1,
          1984 an owner will be  held  responsible  only  for  his  or  her
          portion of the overcharge, in the absence  of  collusion  or  any
          relationship between such owner and any prior  owners,  and  that
          for overcharge complaints filed or overcharges  collected  on  or
          after April 1, 1984, a current owner shall be responsible for all 
          overcharge penalties, including penalties collected by any  prior

          In the instant case, an examination of the records  discloses  no
          evidence of collusion or of any relationship between the  present
          owner and any prior owner and discloses that  the  current  owner
          acquired title sometime after April 1, 1984.  Pursuant to Section 
          2526.1(f), the prior owner, Tint Realty  Corp.,  is  individually
          responsible for overcharges collected from August 1,  1982  until
          April 1, 1984, that is $3835.80, and the  current  owners  Lerman
          and  Boucher  are  individually   responsible   for   overcharges
          collected between April 1, 1984 and January 31,  1986  (inclusive
          of interest and excess security), that is, $4725.10.

          Because this determination concerns  lawful  rents  only  through
          January 31, 1986,  the  present  owner  is  cautioned  to  adjust
          subsequent rents to an amount no greater than that determined  by
          the Rent Administrator's order plus any lawful increases, and  to
          register any adjusted rents with this  order  and  opinion  being
          given as the reason for the adjustment.

          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, or not in  excess  of  twenty  percent  per
          month thereof may be offset against any rent thereafter  due  the

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,  granted.
          The overcharge due hereunder is $8560.90.



                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner



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