BG 410020 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 410020 RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.TC-76817-G 
               JONATHAN HELFAND                  SUBTENANT: SHERI LULINSKI

                                PETITIONER    : 

               On June 30, 1987, the above-named petitioner-prime tenant filed 
          a Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on June 
          3, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, 
          New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 200 West 
          86th Street, New York, New York, Apartment No. 10H, wherein the Rent 
          Administrator determined that the prime tenant 
          had overcharged the subtenants.

          The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of Sections 2520.6, 2520.13 and 2525.6 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 
          September, 1983, of a rent overcharge complaint by the subtenant 
          Sheri Lulinski in which Ms. Lulinski stated that she and two other 
          subtenants (Donna Seidman Lazarus and Linda Levy; later Heidi 
          Amsel moved in when Ms. Seidman Lazarus vacated) resided in the 
          subject apartment from September 1, 1982 to August 31, 1983 at a 
          rental of $900.00 per month paid to the prime tenant.  Ms. 
          Lulinski further stated that she and her fellow subtenants had 
          been overcharged by $300.00 per month during this period.

          In answer to the subtenant's complaint, the prime tenant 
          stated in substance that the rental of the subject apartment was 
          $600.00 per month, but that he had charged an extra $300.00 per 
          month for the use of kosher kitchen facilities (kosher dishes and 
          other utensils) and his Judaica library (about 2,000 volumes 
          currently valued at $40,000 according to the prime tenant); that 
          these items were mentioned in the sublease; that the $300.00 
          charge was fair and reasonable; that the subtenants extensively 
          damaged the subject apartment and failed to keep a properly kosher 

          BG 410020 RO

          kitchen so that the prime tenant had to re-kosher the kitchen 
          after the subtenants vacated; and that due to these actions on the 
          part of the subtenants, Ms. Lulinski's complaint should be 

          In response to the prime tenant's answer, Ms. Lulinski denied 
          that any damages occurred in the subject apartment except for a 
          broken telephone she agreed to reimburse the prime tenant for and 
          denied requesting the use of the prime tenant's kosher equipment 
          or Judaica library when subleasing the subject apartment.

          On January 31, 1984, subtenant Donna Seidman Lazarus 
          submitted a statement to the effect that she was an interested 
          party to these proceedings.

          In Order Number CDR 30,480, the Rent Administrator determined 
          that the subtenants had been overcharged by the prime tenant in 
          the amount of $4103.36 from September 1, 1982 through August 31, 
          1983 and directed the prime tenant to refund such overcharge to 
          the subtenants.  In the determination of the overcharge, the prime 
          tenant was permitted a 10% allowance due to furnishings in the 
          subject apartment.  The complaining subtenant was listed as Sheri 
          Lulinski and the other subtenants were listed as Donna Seidman 
          Lazarus, Linda Levy, and Heidi Amsel.

          In this petition, the prime tenant alleges in substance that 
          no overcharge should have been found due to the status of the 
          subject apartment as "a kosher facility and also as a specialized 
          Judaica research library"; that the Rent Administrator should have 
          taken into account substantial damage done to the subject 
          apartment and its contents by the subtenants such as broken 
          refrigerator shelves, a badly stained oriental rug, broken 
          toaster, clock, radio, typewriter, kitchen door, etc. and a 
          failure to keep the subject apartment properly kosher.  In 
          addition the prime tenant questions the inclusion of Heidi Amsel 
          as a subtenant since Ms. Amsel failed to sign the original 

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

          Section 2525.6(b) of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in 
          pertinent part that the rental charged to a subtenant by a prime 
          tenant shall not exceed the legal regulated rent plus no more than 
          a ten percent surcharge payable to the prime tenant if the housing 
          accommodation is sublet fully furnished.

          Section 2520.13 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in 
          pertinent part that an agreement by the tenant to waive the 
          benefit of any provision of the Rent Stabilization Law or Code is 
          void.  "Tenant" is defined in Section 2520.6(d) of the Rent 
          Stabilization Code to include any person or persons named on a 

          lease as lessee or lessees. This definition of tenant encompasses

          BG 410020 RO

          In the instant case, pursuant to Section 2525.6(b), the prime 
          tenant was limited to a 10% surcharge for the sublet of a fully 
          furnished apartment.  The fact that kosher dishes and equipment 
          and an extensive collection of books were included in the 
          furnishings is not a sufficient basis to allow a higher surcharge.  
          In addition the fact that the kosher dishes, equipment and books 
          were specifically listed in the sublease does not warrant a 
          finding that a larger than 10% surcharge is allowable.  Pursuant 
          to Section 2520.13, any agreement (this includes a lease 
          provision) to waive the benefit of the Rent Stabilization Law or 
          Code is void.  Accordingly, the Rent Administrator correctly found 
          a rent overcharge of $4103.36.

          To simplify matters for the parties and taking into account 
          the fact that the subtenants did not specify what portion of rent 
          each paid and the fact that only Sheri Lulinski signed the 
          original complaint, the prime tenant is directed to refund the 
          entire overcharge amount to Ms. Lulinski and once he makes such 
          full refund to Ms. Lulinski, will be under no further obligation 
          to the other subtenants. Ms. Lulinski is then directed to refund 
          to the other subtenants their share of the rent overcharge in 
          accordance with that portion of the rent each paid within thirty 
          days of receipt of payment from the prime tenant.  If Ms. Lulinski 
          does not do so, the other subtenants may sue to enforce their 
          claims in a court of competent jurisdiction.

          With regard to the prime tenant's allegation concerning 
          extensive damage in the subject apartment, such claim may be 
          pursued by the prime tenant in a court of competent jurisdiction 
          and has no effect on the overcharge determination made herein.

          This order may upon the expiration of the period in which the 
          prime tenant may institute a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of 
          the Civil Practice Law and Rules, be filed and enforced as a 
          judgment by the subtenant Sheri Lulinski.

          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, modified to show that 
          the prime tenant must refund the entire overcharge amount to Sheri 

          BG 410020 RO
          Lulinski and that Ms. Lulinski will then reimburse the other 
          subtenants in accordance with the amount of rent each paid.  The 
          amount of the rent overcharge through August 31, 1983 is $4103.36.


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



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