ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS. BD 110071 RO & BD 110326 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 
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NOS.  BD  110071  RO
                                                             BD 110326 RO
                                              :   D.R.O.  DOCKET  NO.   8223
               ZEAL MANAGEMENT                                       
                               PETITIONER   :  ---

                                              
                                 PETITIONER   :  
          ------------------------------------X 

           ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


               On April  1,  1987  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed
          Petitions for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          February 25, 1987 by the  Rent  Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall
          Street, Jamaica, NY, concerning housing  accommodations  known  as
          76-15 35th Avenue, Jackson Heights, New York, Apartment No. 60. 

               A review of the record reveals that above mentioned petitions 
          are  duplicate  proceedings  which  were  inadvertently   assigned
          separate docket numbers.  The Commissioner deems it appropriate to 
          consolidate said petitions in this proceeding.  

               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 commenced on July 18, 1984 by the  tenant
          filing an objection to the registration  statement  filed  by  the
          owner.  The tenant alleged, among other things  that  the  initial
          rent of the subject apartment exceeded the fair market rent. 

               In  the  herein  appealed  order,  the   Rent   Administrator
          established a fair market rent of $171.30, effective July 1, 1980, 
          the commencement  date  of  the  initial  rent  stabilized  lease,
          determined that the owner had collected $14,473.29 in excess  rent
          from the tenant and directed that the excess rent be  refunded  to
          the tenant.  The Rent Administrator  determined  the  fair  market
          rent based solely on the Special Fair Market Rent Guidelines based 
          on a finding that the owner had  failed  to  submit  comparability
          data.   

               In this petition, the owner contends  that  the  fair  market
          rent appeal should be  dismissed  because  the  tenant  failed  to
          allege any facts and supply any evidence to support the appeal.  


          The owner further contends that  assuming  arguendo  the  tenant's
          objection was properly treated as a fair market  rent  appeal,  it






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS. BD 110071 RO & BD 110326 RO
          was not provided an opportunity to submit comparability data.  The 
          owner also submitted rental data for one apartment in the  subject
          building. 

               In response, the tenant asserts, in substance, that the  Rent
          Administrator's order should be upheld.    

               The Commissioner is  of  the  opinion  that  these  petitions
          should  be  remanded  to  the  Rent  Administrator   for   further
          consideration. 

               Regarding the sufficiency of the tenant's  fair  market  rent
          appeal, Section 2522.3 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides:

               "The tenant need only allege in such application:
               (1) that the Initial Legal Regulation is in excess
                   of Fair Market Rent; and
               (2) such facts which, to the best of his information
                   and belief, support such allegation."

          The owner claims that since the tenant failed to present any facts 
          to support the appeal, he failed to satisfy Section  2522.3(b)  of
          the Code and that the appeal should therefore be dismissed.  The 
          Commissioner rejects the owner's argument.  Since the directive to 
          provide facts is qualified by the phrase,  "to  the  best  of  his
          information and belief," it  cannot  be  read  to  create  a  firm
          requirement.  The Commissioner does  not  see  why  a  tenant  who
          cannot provide any information should  have  his  appeal  rejected
          whereas a tenant who makes a statement in good faith but which  is
          completely  false  would  be  permitted   to   file   an   appeal.
          Furthermore, had the  drafters  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Code
          intended such a strict requirement, they would have repeated it in 
          Section 2522.3(c) which  sets forth the grounds for the  rejection
          of an  appeal.   Accordingly,  the  Commissioner  finds  that  the
          tenant's objection was  properly  accepted  as  fair  market  rent
          appeal. 

               Regarding the owner's contention that it was not provided  an
          opportunity to submit comparability data, Section  26-516  of  the
          Rent Stabilization Law provides in pertinent part that fair market 
          rent adjustment applications are to be determined by  the  use  of
          special fair market rent guidelines orders promulgated by the  New
          York City  Rent  Guidelines  Board  and  by  the  rents  generally
          prevailing in the same  area  for  substantially  similar  housing
          accommodations.  In order to determine rents generally  prevailing
          in the same area for substantially similar housing accommodations, 
          it is Division policy to  allow  owners  to  submit  the  required
          comparability data.  In cases where an owner fails to  submit  the
          required comparability data, the fair market  rent  is  determined
          solely on the basis of the special  fair  market  rent  guidelines
          order.   Section  26-513  further  provides  that  where   it   is
          determined that the rent charged is in excess of the fair market 


          rent, the Commissioner shall order a refund  of  any  excess  rent
          paid since January 1, 1974 or the date of refund of any excess
          rent paid since January 1,1974 or the date of commencement of  the
          tenancy, whichever is later.      







          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS. BD 110071 RO & BD 110326 RO
               In the instant case, an examination of the  record  fails  to
          clearly indicate that the owner was  afforded  an  opportunity  to
          submit comparability  data  in  the  proceeding  before  the  Rent
          Administrator.  Therefore, this proceeding  must  be  remanded  to
          afford the owner an opportunity to submit such data.  Upon remand, 
          the contentions raised and the evidence submitted by the owner  on
          appeal regarding comparable apartments should be considered.

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

               ORDERED, that these petitions be, and the  same  hereby  are,
          granted to the extent of remanding this  proceeding  to  the  Rent
          Administrator for further processing in accordance with this order 
          and  opinion.   The  automatic  stay  of  so  much  of  the   Rent
          Administrator's order as directed a  refund  is  hereby  continued
          until  a  new  order  is  issued  upon   remand.    However,   the
          Administrator's determination as to the rent  is  not  stayed  and
          shall remain in effect, except for  any  adjustments  pursuant  to
          lease renewals, until the Administrator issues a  new  Order  upon
          remand.   

          ISSUED:





                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



                                          






























          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS. BD 110071 RO & BD 110326 RO






    

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