ART 13493-L
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL  OF                                DOCKET   NO.:   ART   13493-L
            MARGARET JUNE TORNEY,                DRO DOCKET NO.:              
                                                  TA 10284/ CDR 21,609

                                                 OWNER: Benjamin Sendyk    

          On September 15, 1986, the above-named petitioner-tenant  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review  against  an  order  issued  on
          August 14, 1986, by the Rent Administrator at 10 Columbus  Circle,
          New  York,  NY  concerning  the  housing  accommodation  known  as
          Apartment 4RN at 1808 Second Avenue,  New  York,  NY  wherein  the
          Administrator dismissed the tenant's Fair Market Rent Appeal.

          The Commissioner notes that this proceeding  was  initiated  prior
          to April 1, 1984.  Sections  2526.1(a)(4)  and  2521.1(d)  of  the
          Rent Stabilization Code (effective May  1,  1987)  governing  rent
          overcharge  and  fair  market  rent   proceedings   provide   that
          determination of these matters be  based  upon  the  law  or  code
          provisions  in  effect  on  March  31,  1984.   Therefore,  unless
          otherwise  indicated,  reference   to   Sections   of   the   Rent
          Stabilization Code (Code) contained herein  are  to  the  Code  in
          effect on April 30, 1987.

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

          This proceeding was commenced on November 11, 1981 when the tenant 
          filed a complaint of rent overcharge with the former New York City 
          Conciliation and  Appeals  Board  (CAB),  based  in  part  on  the
          tenant's belief that the initial  rent  exceeded  the  apartment's
          fair market rent.  The tenant took occupancy pursua t  to  a  one-
          year lease commencing October 12, 1981 and terminating October 31, 
          1982 at a monthly rent of $400.00.

          In answer to the complaint, the owner stated that the  rent  being
          charged was actually below the fair market rent; rents for similar 
          apartments in the same area were greater than  the  rent  for  the
          subject  apartment.   Moreover,  the   owner   stated   that   the
          expenditure of thousands of dollars to renovate the apartment  was


          ART 13493-L

          an added factor to be considered  in  computing  the  fair  market
          rent.  Along with  its  answer,  the  owner  submitted  supporting
          documentation, including a DC-2 form, an R-42 Landlord's Report of 
          Statutory Decontrol, a rent history lease  rider  and  leases  for
          other apartments in the subject building.

          Because the complainant's application met the  statutory  criteria
          for a Fair Market Rent Appeal, the tenant's  overcharge  complaint
          was converted to a Fair Market Rent Appeal.  The  owner  requested
          that "comparability" be based upon the free market  rents  charged
          for apartments recently rented on the post-ETPA "Free Market."

          In accord with Division  instructions,  the  owner  submitted  the
          rental history of each stabilized apartment in  the  subject  line
          since the base date.  The owner  also  submitted  paid  bills  for
          improvements made to the subject apartment.

          The tenant, who  submitted  newspaper  advertisements  for  rental
          apartments  in  the  subject  neighborhood,  disputed  the  rental
          histories and the alleged costs of improvements submitted  by  the
          owner, but failed to submit probative evidence to  contradict  the
          owner's claims.

          In the order here under review, the Administrator  determined  the
          Fair Market Rent to be $315.39.  Pursuant to Code Section 20c  (1)
          the Administrator found that the owner was entitled to  a  monthly
          rent increase of $170.66, 1/40th of the total  cost  of  $6,826.49
          for the improvements made.  This resulted in a final  Fair  Market
          Rent  of  $486.05.   Since  the  Fair  Market  Rent  ($486.05)  as
          calculated  by  the  Administrator  exceeded  the  Initial   Legal
          Regulated Rent ($400.00), the Administrator dismissed the tenant's 

          In the appeal the tenant  seeks  to  reverse  the  Administrator's
          order.  The tenant contends that:

               1.  The approved rent increase for improvements made to 
               the apartment was too high because the owner failed to 
               substantiate $3,500.00 for the bathroom installation; 
               the owner inflated prices, presenting costs for new 
               items but furnished old, used items; similar 
               improvements in other apartments in the building had 
               been less costly; an increase should not have been 
               permitted for a fireproof door or new windows.

               2.  Because the owner failed to timely respond to a 
               notice requesting comparables data, the fair market rent 
               should have been determined solely on the basis of 
               special guidelines; the DHCR permitted the owner to cure 
               its default and accepted the late submission of rental 
               data and comparables while ignoring the comparables 
               submitted by the tenant.

          ART 13493-L

               3.  The DHCR did not provide the tenant an ample 
               opportunity to challenge the owner's documentation on 

          In response to the petition, the owner notes that the tenant 
          failed to document any challenge to the owner's claimed 
          improvements, and also notes that the proceeding was reopened by 
          the rent administrator for additional submissions.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be 

          Section 20c (1) of the former Code provides in pertinent part for 
          a rent increase of 1/40th the total cost of added improvements.  
          In the instant case, the owner submitted invoices and cancelled 
          checks to document all improvements.  The Administrator determined 
          that certain of the improvements met the statutory requirements 
          imposed by Section 20c (1) and approved $6,826.49 for 20c (1) 
          improvements but disallowed submitted costs for an entrance door, 
          windows and water pipes as these items constituted either repair 
          or normal maintenance.  In substantiation of the $3,500.00 
          bathroom installation cost which is challenged by the tenant, the 
          owner submitted an invoice from the plumbing contractor and two 
          checks, one in the amount of $1,000.00 and the other in the amount 
          of $2,500.00, a total of $3,500.00.  The tenant has submitted no 
          documentary evidence to substantiate her allegations regarding the 
          approved Section 20c (1) improvements.

          The Emergency Tenant Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 403 of 
          the Laws of 1983, directs that an apartment's fair market rent be 
          determined on the basis of two criteria:  1) A special guidelines 
          order to be promulgated by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board 
          solely for use in determining Fair Market Rent; and 2) rents 
          generally prevailing in the same area for substantially similar 
          housing accommodations, commonly known as the comparability test.  
          The results of each of these two criteria are averaged to 
          determine the fair market rent.  If no usable comparability data 
          is available, the special guidelines alone will be used.  

          In the instant case, to satisfy the first criterion, the recorded 
          1972 Maximum Base Rent (MBR) was converted to a 1980 MBR and then 
          augmented by the special guidelines.  With regard to the alleged 
          default of the owner in responding to the fair market rent appeal, 
          the Commissioner notes that this time limit is not jurisdictional.  
          While the appeal was pending, the law was changed, permitting 
          owners to request that comparability be determined on the basis of 
          market rents charged after July 1, 1974.  To use post-July 1, 1974 
          rentals for the comparability study, the owner was required to 
          submit a rental history for each stabilized apartment in the 

          ART 13493-L

          subject line from the time that each became subject to rent 
          stabilization along with proof of service of either an Initial 
          Legal Regulated Rent Notice or the Apartment Registration form for 
          each apartment.  The owner complied by submitting the required 
          data.  The newspaper ads submitted by the tenant do not meet the 
          standard required and are not usable in the comparability study.  

          The tenant's contentions relating to the rental histories of the 
          apartments in the subject line are speculative and 
          unsubstantiated.  Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the 
          Administrator justifiably relied on the data submitted by the 

          The owner's comparability data was forwarded to the tenant on 
          November 1, 1985 with a form cover letter which permitted ten days 
          for a reply.  The Commissioner notes that despite the tenant's 
          allegation that the time to reply was foreshortened, the tenant 
          did reply.  Moreover, if more than ten days had been required the 
          tenant was not prevented from requesting an extension. 

          Based on the evidence of record, the Commissioner finds that the 
          owner submitted the requested documentation which was required to 
          compute the fair market rent and based thereon, the Administrator 
          properly determined the fair market rent.

          The time limits cited by the Administrator to process information 
          are discretionary.  The Commissioner finds no abuse of discretion 
          on the part of the Administrator in accepting the submission of 
          documents by the owner after the passing of particular time 
          limits, particularly, since the Administrator was constrained to 
          inform the owner of the new comparability rule.

          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, 


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner


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