BG 410278-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 410278-RO
                 ABRAHAM CHINITZ,                 D.R.O. NO.:
                                                  CDR                30,549
                                                  TENANT :    
                                  PETITIONER      BRUCE MC INNES
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          

          On July 10, 1987 the above-named petitioner-owner filed  a  Peti-
          tion for Administrative Review against an order  issued  on  June
          12, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle,
          New York, New York, concerning the housing  accommodations  known
          as Apartment 3-B,  466  Amsterdam  Avenue,  New  York,  New  York
          wherein the Rent Administrator determined that the tenant's  rent
          exceeded the fair market rent and ordered a refund  of  $9,984.48
          of excess rent and excess security.

          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 other 
          wise 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 by the administrative appeal. 

          The tenant commenced this proceeding on March 31, 1984 by  filing
          a Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA) with the New York City Concilia 
          tion and Appeals Board (CAB), the agency  formerly  charged  with
          enforcing the Rent Stabilization Law.


          In answer to the complaint, the owner  submitted  data  regarding
          comparable rents in the subject line of apartments.

          In Order No. CDR 30,549, the Rent Administrator  determined  that
          the average rent of such comparable apartments  as  of  June  30,
          1979 was $300.00 per month.  (As the petitioner notes, the Admin 
          istrator's order stated "1974" but it is conceded that "1979" was 
          the correct and intended date.)   Using  the  Special  Guidelines
          Test, the Administrator found a Fair Market Rent of $233.14.







          BG 410278-RO

          Taking the  average  of  these  two  results,  the  Administrator
          established the fair market rent as $266.57, plus  $13.06  (being
          one-fortieth of the cost of certain improvements) for a total  of
          $279.63.  Based therein the refund stated above was computed.

          In this petition, the owner contends th t  the  Rent  Administra-
          tor's Order is incorrect  and  should  be  modified  because  the
          tenant failed to submit any facts or evidence in support  of  his
          FMRA, so that the tenant's application  amounted  to  a  "fishing
          expedition."  In support of this contention the owner  cites  the
          Rent Stabilization Law which  states,  in  part,  that  a  tenant
          filing a FMRA "need only allege that such rent is  in  excess  of
          the fair market rent and shall present such facts which,  to  the
          best of his information and belief, support such allegation."

          In addition, the owner cites Section 25 of the former Code  which
          states that such tenant need only allege:

              "(1)  that the Initial Legal Regulated Rent is in ex-
                    cess of the fair market Rent; and

               (2)  such facts which, to the best  of  his  information
                    and belief, support such allegation."

          Moreover, the owner cites Section 12 of the application form used 
          by the tenant which states in part:  "To support your  claim  ...
          you should list facts on which you rely, such as ..."  Th s  sec-
          tion was left blank by the tenant.

          Finally, the owner cites Notice Form DC-2A (9/85)  which  states,
          in part:

                   "The tenant must allege that the initial Leg l  Reg-
                    ulated Rent is in excess of the  Fair  Market  Rent
                    for the apartment and present facts which,  to  the
                    best of the tenant's information a d  belief,  sup-
                    port such allegation." 


          The owner then argues that, even if the Commissioner  finds  that
          the tenant's FMRA was properly filed, the  Administrator's  order
          must be modified because the Administrator failed to  update  the
          June 30, 1979 average comparable rent  of  $300.00  in  order  to
          determine the fair market rent for the  tenant's  initial  lease,
          which commenced April 15, 1980.

          In answer to this petition, the tenant contends  that  the  order
          should be upheld because the tenant compli d  with  all  require-
          ments for a FMRA by alleging his initial rent exceeded  the  fair
          market rent.

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

          Three of the four documents cited by the owner contain the phrase 
          "to the best of the  tenant's  information  and  belief"  (or  an
          equivalent statement). Based thereon the Commissioner has consis 







          BG 410278-RO
          tently held that a tenant is not required to  submit  information
          to support his or her belief that  the  initial  stabilized  rent
          exceeded the market  value.   See  Administrative  Review  Docket
          Nos. ARL 06666-L and AL 410310-RO.

          The fourth document cited by the owner, i.e., the application 
          form used by the tenant, clearly does not obligate the tenant  to
          submit evidence.  The phrase relied on by the owner, i.e.,  "[t]o
          support your claim . . . you  should  list  facts  on  which  you
          rely", is permissive rather  than  mandatory.   Furthermore,  the
          instructions on the face of this form state explicitly: "You  may
          file this application . . . if you believe your rent exceeds  the
          Fair Market Rent for your apartment . . .  ."  (Emphasis  added.)
          There is clearly no requirement for a tenant to  submit  evidence
          in support of this claim.

          Regarding the owner's contention that the June 30,  1979  average
          comparable rent should have been updated, the Commissioner  notes
          that Section 26-513 of the Rent Stabilization  Law  provides,  in
          pertinent part, that fair market rent adjustment applications are 
          to be determined by the use of special fa r  market  rent  guide-
          lines 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 deter 
          mine rents generally prevailing in t e  same  area  for  substan-
          tially similar housing accommodations, it is DHCR's procedure for 
          fair market rent appeal cases, such as  the  present  proceeding,
          which are filed prior to April 1, 1984 to allow owners to  submit



          June 30, 1974 free market  rental  data  for  complete  lines  of
          apartments, beginning with the subject line.  The average of such 
          comparable rentals will  then  be  updated  by  annual  guideline
          increases.  Alternatively, DHCR procedure allows owners  to  have
          comparability determined on the basis of rents charged after June 
          30, 1974.  In order to use  this  method,  owners  were  required
          prior to November 1, 1984 to submit rental history data  for  all
          stabilized apartments in the subject premises and  subsequent  to
          November 1, 1984 to  submit  such  data  for  complete  lines  of
          apartments beginning with the subject line.  Post-June  30,  1974
          rent data will be utilized if the comparable apartment was rented 
          to a first stabilized tenant within one year of  the  renting  of
          the subject apartment and if the owner submits proof  of  service
          of an initial  legal  regulated  rent  notice  (DC-2  Notice)  or
          apartment registration form indicating the rent is not subject to 
          challenge.

          In this case the owner elected to use post-June 30, 19 4  compar-
          ables.  Since the June 30, 1979 average comparable rent  used  by
          the Administrator was within one year of the commencement date of 
          the initial stabilized lease (April 15, 1980), the  Administrator
          fully complied with the procedures described above.  Accordingly, 
          the owner's argument that updating was required is without merit.


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







          BG 410278-RO

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same  hereby  is,  denied
          and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the  same  hereby
          is, affirmed.


          ISSUED:


                                                                           
                                                ELLIOT SANDER
                                                Deputy Commissioner


                                          
    

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