BG 210101 RO

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

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO. BG 210101 RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.K-3101990-RT 
               SELMA ASKINAZY                    TENANT: ELIZABETH ALLISON

                                PETITIONER    : 


               On July 3, 1987, the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on June 
          6, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New  York,
          New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 444  15th
          Street, Brooklyn, New York, Apartment No.  4L,  wherein  the  Rent
          Administrator  determined  that  the  owner  had  overcharged  the

               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 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
          March, 1984, of a rent overcharge  complaint  by  the  tenant  who
          first moved to the subject apartment on April 1, 1983 at a  rental
          of $500.00 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.  Subsequently the owner  was
          advised that treble damages would be  imposed  on  any  overcharge
          occurring after April 1,  1984  for  which  the  owner  failed  to
          satisfy the Division that the overcharge  was  not  willful.   The
          owner did not submit any rental history for the subject  apartment
          prior to April 1, 1983.

               In Order Number CDR 30,445, 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 $4340.79 
          including treble damages on the overcharge occurring  after  April
          1, 1984, and directed the owner to refund such overcharge  to  the
          tenant as well as to reduce the rent.

          BG 210101 RO

               In this petition, the owner contends in  substance  that  she
          sent all her rent records  to  her  former  attorneys,  that  such
          former attorneys had misplaced her  rent  records,  that  she  had
          extensive renovations done  in  the  subject  apartment  prior  to
          occupancy by the tenant herein, and that in any  event,  if  there
          was an overcharge, it was not willful so that  the  imposition  of
          treble damages was not warranted.

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

               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.,
          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

          BG 210101 RO
          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.  However, the owner herein did not submit a  rental  history
          from  April  1,  1980  so  that  the  Rent  Administrator's  order
          determining a rent overcharge on the basis of the owner's  default
          was warranted.

               With regard to the owner's contention that she made extensive 
          renovations in the subject apartment prior to the occupancy of the 
          tenant herein, it is noted that this  issue  was  raised  for  the
          first time on appeal and  cannot  properly  be  considered  herein
          since this is not a de novo proceeding.

               With regard to the  imposition  of  treble  damages,  Section
          2526.1 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in  pertinent  part
          that any owner who is found by the DHCR to have collected any 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 has not submitted any evidence 
          to show that the overcharge was not willful.  The  fact  that  the
          owner's former attorneys may have  misplaced  the  rental  history
          supplied to  them  by  the  owner  does  not  establish  that  the
          overcharge was not willful.

                    Because this determination concerns  lawful  rents  only
          through March 31, 1985, the owner is cautioned to adjust 

          subsequent rents to an amount no greater than that  determined  by
          this order plus any lawful increases and to register any  adjusted
          rents with this order and opinion being given as  the  explanation
          for the adjustment.

               This order may upon the expiration of the period in which the 

          BG 210101 RO
          owner may institute a proceeding pursuant to  Article  78  of  the
          Civil Practice Law and Rules, be filed and enforced as a  judgment
          or not in excess of twenty percent per month of the overcharge may 
          be offset against any rent thereafter due the owner.

               THEREFORE, in accordance with  the  provisions  of  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.


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



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