BG 110144 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 NO. BG 110144 RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.TC-061009-G
               CHRISTOS IFAMIDES                 TENANT: JOSE RODRIGUEZ

                                PETITIONER    : 
          ------------------------------------X                             
            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


               On July 27, 1987, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on June 
          23, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, 
          New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 4142 
          Elbertson Street, Queens, New York, Apartment No. 711, 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 (a) of the Rent Stabilization Code.

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

          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 
          February 1982, of a rent overcharge complaint by the tenant in 
          which the tenant stated that he first moved to the subject 
          apartment on October 1, 1980 at a rental of $400.00 per month.

          The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and was 
          requested to submit rent records from the base date to prove the 
          lawfulness of the rent being charged.  In answer to the complaint, 
          the owner submitted a rental history from March 1, 1980.

          In Order Number CDR 30,697, the Rent Administrator determined 
          that, due to the owner's failure to submit a complete rental 
          history, the tenant had been overcharged in the amount of 
          $5776.23 and directed the owner to refund such overcharge to the 
          tenant as well as to reduce the rent.

          In this petition, the owner contends in substance that he did 
          not default as he submitted all the rent records he had in that he 
          could not obtain earlier rent records from the prior owner and 
          that by statute he should not be required to submit rent records 










          BG 110144 RO
          prior to April 1, 1980.  In support of his petition, the owner 
          resubmitted a copy of a lease commencing March 1, 1980 with prior 
          tenant Cherry Paul at a rental of $347.03 per month.

          In answer to the owner's petition, the tenant stated in 
          substance that upon information and belief, the prior tenants of 
          the subject apartment were Freddy and Sandy Mitchell and that said 
          prior tenants were paying a rent of $270.00 per month as of 
          September 1980.  The tenant submitted no evidence in support of 
          this contention.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should 
          be granted.

          Section 42A of the former Rent Stabilization Code requires 
          that an owner retain complete records for each stabilized 
          apartment in effect from June 30, 1974 (or the date the apartment 
          became subject to rent stabilization, if later) and to produce 
          such records to the DHCR upon demand.

          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 to produce rent records for more than four (4) years 
          prior to the most recent registration, and concomitantly, 
          established a four year limitation on the calculation of rent 
          overcharges.

          It has been the DHCR's policy that overcharge complaints 
          filed prior to April 1, 1984, are to be processed pursuant to the 
          Law or Code in effect on March 31, 1984. (see Section 2526.1 (a) 
          (4) of the current Rent Stabilization Code.)  The DHCR has 
          therefore applied Section 42A of the former Code to overcharge 
          complaints filed prior to April 1, 1984, requiring complete rent 
          records in these cases.  In following this policy, the DHCR has 
          sought to be consistent with the legislative intent of the 
          Omnibus Housing Act (Chapter 403, Laws of 1983), as implemented 
          by the New York City Conciliation and Appeals Board (CAB) the 
          predecessor agency to the DHCR, to determine rent overcharge 
          complaints filed with the CAB prior to April 1, 1984, by applying 
          the law in effect at the time such complaints were filed so as 
          not to deprive such tenants of their rights to have the lawful 
          stabilized rent determined from the June 30, 1974 base date and 
          so as not to deprive tenants whose overcharge claims accrued more 
          than four years prior to April 1, 1984 of the right to recover 
          such overcharges.  In such cases, if the owner failed to produce 
          the required rent records, the lawful stabilized rent would be 
          determined pursuant to the default procedure approved by the 
          Court of Appeals in 61 Jane Street Associates v. CAB, 65 N.Y.2d 
          898, 493 N.Y. S. 2d 455 (1985).

          However, it has recently been held in the case of J.R.D. 
          Mgmt. v. Eimicke, 148 A.D.2d 610. 539 N.Y.S. 2d 667 (App. Div. 2d 




          Dept., 1989). motion for leave to reargue or for leave to appeal 
          to the Court of Appeals denied ( App. Div. 2d Dept., N.Y.L.J., 


          BG 110144 RO
          June 28, 1989. p.25, col.1), motion for leave to appeal to the 
          Court of Appeals denied (Court of Appeals, N.Y.L.J., Nov. 24, 
          1989, p.24, col.4)., motion for leave to reargue denied (Court of 
          Appeals, N.Y.L.J., Feb. 15, 1990, p.25, col.1), that the Law in 
          effect at the time of the determination of the administrative 
          complaint rather than the Law in effect at the time of the filing 
          of the complaint must be applied and that the DHCR could not 
          require an owner to produce more than four years of rent records.

          Since the issuance of the decision in JRD, the Appellate 
          Division, First Department, in the case of Lavanant v. DHCR, 148 
          A.D.2d 185, 544 N.Y.S.2d 331 (App. Div. 1st Dept. 1989), has 
          issued a decision in direct conflict with the holding in JRD.  
          The Lavanant court expressly rejected the JRD ruling finding that 
          the DHCR may properly require an owner to submit complete rent 
          records, rather than records for just four years, and that such 
          requirement is both rational and supported by the Law and 
          legislative history of the Omnibus Housing Act.

          Since in the instant case the subject dwelling unit is 
          located in the Second Department, the DHCR is constrained to 
          follow the JRD decision in determining the tenant's overcharge 
          complaint, limiting the requirement for rent records to April 1, 
          1980.  An examination of the rent records from March 1, 1980 
          including prior tenant Cherry Paul's March 1, 1980 lease discloses 
          that no rent overcharge occurred.  It is noted that the tenant has 
          submitted no evidence in support of his contention that the prior 
          tenant's last rent was $270.00.  In the absence of such evidence, 
          the Commissioner deems it appropriate to accept the copy of the 
          written lease for the prior tenant submitted by the owner to 
          establish the prior tenant's last rent.

          If the owner has already complied with the Rent 
          Administrator's order and there are arrears due to the owner as a 
          result of the instant determination, the tenant is permitted to 
          pay off the arrears in 24 equal monthly installments.  Should the 
          tenant vacate after the issuance of this order or have already 
          vacated, said arrears shall be payable immediately.

















          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Appellate Division ruling 
          in JRD, it is

          ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and 







          BG 110144 RO
          the same hereby is, granted, and, that the order of the Rent 
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, revoked, and it is 
          found that no rent overcharge occurred.

          ISSUED



                                                                        
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Deputy Commissioner




                     































    

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