BH 410299 RT

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

          APPEAL OF                             DOCKET NO.: BH 410299 RT

                       A. ZUCKERMAN             DRO DOCKET NO.: ZAI 410311 SH
                    HELMSLEY - SPEAR INC.
                                                TENANT: MELANIE BACKER        


          On August 18, 1987, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on July 
          16, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, 
          Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 
          The Commander Hotel, 240 West 73rd Street, New York, Apartment No. 
          713, wherein the Rent Administrator determined that the owner had 
          only overcharged the tenant by the premature collection of the 
          Hotel Rent Guideline Board Order # 15 increase (Hereafter HRGBO).

          The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of Section 2521.1(b)(2)of the Rent Stabilization Code.

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

          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 of a rent 
          overcharge complaint by the tenant of stabilized hotel unit # 713 
          on September 24, 1986.  The owner was served with a copy of the 
          tenant's complaint and submitted a complete rental history as 
          required.  The owner stated in substance that the unit was 
          decontrolled by the death of the rent controlled tenant prior to 
          April 1984 and initially rented to a prior tenant (Eckerson) on 
          April 16, 1984 at an initial rental of $750.00.  The prior tenant 
          was evicted on December 31, 1984 and after some renovations, the 
          unit was rented to the complainant on March 15, 1985 at the same 
          initial rent of $750.00.  The owner submitted a copy of the Initial 
          Apartment Registration (Form RR1) for the subject unit.

          In Order Number ZAI 410311 SH, the Rent Administrator established 
          the Initial Legal Registered rent as $750.00 effective April 16, 
          1984, determined that the tenant had been overcharged only by the 
          owner's premature collection of the HRGBO # 15 increase in July 
          1985 rather than on the anniversary of the tenant's occupancy in 
          March 1986, and directed a refund to the tenant of $139.12 

          BH 410299 RT

          including interest on overcharges collected on and after April 1, 

          In this petition, the tenant contends in substance that the Rent 
          Administrator's order failed to provide rental history prior to 
          April 1, 1984 as the tenant had requested in her complaint or to 
          deal with the increase to the rent of the prior tenant who did not 
          have sufficient time or knowledge to challenge the rent increase.

          In answer to the tenant's petition, the owner stated in substance 
          that the Rent Administrator's order was warranted because the 
          tenant does not have standing to object to the initial legal 
          registered rent.

          During the pendency of the appeal, the tenant vacated the subject 
          apartment and no forwarding address is on file.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be 

          An examination of the record in this case discloses that the owner 
          and tenant both acknowledged that the unit had been occupied by the 
          same tenant for about 40 years before the occupancy on April 16, 
          1984 by the prior tenant (Eckerson).  The rent of $750.00 charged 
          on April 16, 1984 was registered with the Division of Housing and 
          Community Renewal (DHCR) as the Initial Legal Registered Rent.

          Hotel Rent Guideline Board Orders specifically state that Special 
          Guidelines relating to the adjustment of Initial Legal Regulated 
          Rents are inapplicable to hotel dwelling units.

          The initial rent of $750.00 charged after decontrol and registered 
          with DHCR became the Initial Legal Registered Rent not subject to 
          challenge.  Therefore, the Rent Administrator was constrained by 
          statute to using the Initial Legal Registered Rent as the basis for 
          subsequent rental calculations and could not consider any rental 
          history prior to April 1984.  The Rent Administrator correctly 
          calculated the complainant's rent from the base date and determined 
          that the owner had collected an overcharge from the complainant 
          only for the period from July 1, 1985 through March 15, 1986 due to 
          the owner's collection of an increase under HRGBO #15 on July 1, 
          1985 rather than on the anniversary date of the tenant's occupancy 
          - March 15, 1986 - as specified in the language of the guidelines 

          Accordingly, the Rent Administrator's order was warranted.

          Because this determination concerns lawful rents only through      
          July 31, 1987, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rents to 
          an amount no greater than that determined by the Rent 
          Administrator's 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 
          owner may institute a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the 
          Civil Practice Law and Rules, be filed and enforced in the same 
          manner as a judgment.

          BH 410299 RT

          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.  A copy of this 
          order is being served on the current occupant of the subject 


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner


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