BI 610297-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     S.J.R. NO.: 6038  (Mandamus)
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  BI 610297-RO                
             3871 VILLAGE COURT ASSOCIATES,       RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.: 
                                                  43765
                                  PETITIONER      TENANT:  DAVID SEIKEN
          ----------------------------------x


          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN 
          PART AND REMANDING PROCEEDING TO THE DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR


          On September 29, 1987, the above-named petitioner-owner filed  an
          Petition for Administrative Review of an order issued  on  August
          31, 1987 by the District Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus  Circle,
          New York, New York, concerning housing  accommodations  known  as
          Apartment 3-J at 3871 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New  York,  wherein
          the District Rent Administrator determined the fair  market  rent
          pursuant to the special fair market rent guideline promulgated by 
          the New York City Rent Guidelines Board for  use  in  calculating
          fair market rent appeals.

          Subsequent thereto,  the  petitioner  filed  a  petition  in  the
          Supreme Court pursuant to Article 78 of the  Civil  Practice  Law
          and Rules, in the nature of mandamus, for  a  judgment  directing
          the Division  to  render  a  determination  of  the  petitioner's
          administrative appeal.

          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.

          This proceeding was originally commenced by  the  tenant  by  the
          filing of an objection to the Apartment  Registration  including,
          among other things, a fair market rent appeal and an overcharge 

          complaint.  The tenant took occupancy pursuant  o  a  lease  com-
          mencing May 1, 1983 and expiring April 30, 1986 at a monthly rent 
          of $380.00.

          In answer, the owner advised that the prior tenant was the former 
          owner's daughter; that when the owner took over the  building  in
          March 1982 there were no prior records for the apartment  as  the
          apartment  was  rent  controlled;  that  the  tenant's  rent  was
          established as a first stabilized rent  using  the  Maximum  Base
          Rent plus all allowances  and  increase  for  improvements.   The







          BI 610297-RO
          owner submitted a copy  of  the  applicant's  initial  lease  and
          documentation of improvements to the subject apartment.

          In the order under appeal herein, the District Rent Administrator 
          adjusted the initial legal regulated rent by establishing a  fair
          market rent of $315.05 effective May 1,  1983,  the  commencement
          date of the initial rent stabilized lease and directed the  owner
          to refund to the tenant excess rent in the amount  of  $3,514.12.
          The fair market rent as established by the Administrator included 
          an allowance for improvements.

          In this petition, the owner asserts that the District Rent Admin 
          istrator's order states that "the record shows that the statutory 
          criteria for processing a fair market rent appeal have  been  met
          in this case", but the order fails to set forth the record itself 
          that establishes specifically how the tenant has met  the  statu-
          tory criteria.  The owner also asserts  that  the  only  document
          submitted by the tenant in support of his appeal is the  tenant's
          objection form; that in that form the tenant made a  general  and
          unsupported allegation regarding  the  rent  paid  by  the  prior
          tenant and indicating that  he  wished  to  know  how  the  owner
          derived his initial rent; and that this allegation is an insuffi 
          cient basis for the Administrator's  order.   The  owner  further
          asserts that the Administrator failed  to  include  a  fuel  cost
          allowance and 10% increase for the  tenant's  initial  three-year
          lease in calculating the fair market rent and failed to include a 
          major capital improvement increase granted under Docket  No.  BCS
          000086-OM effective September 1, 1986 in establishing the  lawful
          stabilized rent for the tenant's renewal lease commencing May  1,
          1986.  The owner also cites the range of rents in  May  1983  for
          two room apartments in another building in the area  and  asserts
          that based on rents charged  for  substantially  similar  housing
          accommodations in the area, the tenant's initial rent was lawful.

          In answer, the tenant  asserts,  among  other  things,  that  the
          building cited by the owner for comparability purposes is approx 
          imately 25 years  old  and  is  not  comparable  to  the  subject
          building which is over 60 years old.



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

          Section 26-513 of the Rent Stabilization Law provides that a fair 
          market rent appeal may be filed by a tenant of a housing accommo 
          dation which was subject to rent control  or  rent  stabilization
          prior to July 1, 1971 and became vacant on or  after  January  1,
          1974.

          Section 2522.3(c)(2) of the Rent Stabilization Code provides that 
          a fair market rent appeal should be dismissed if it is filed more 
          than 90 days after certified mailing to the tenant of an  initial
          apartment registration form.  Section 2522.3(a) of the Co e  pro-
          vides that where the first tenant taking occupancy after December 
          31, 1973 of a previously rent  controlled  apartment  was  served
          with the notice required by Section 26 of the former Rent Stabil 
          ization Code (Notice Form DC-2), the time within such tenant  may







          BI 610297-RO
          file a fair market rent appeal is limited to 90 days  after  such
          notice was mailed to the tenant by certified mail.

          The evidence of record in this case indicates that the tenant was 
          the first stabilized tenant in the subject apartment.  The  owner
          has not alleged that the tenant's fair  market  rent  appeal  was
          untimely filed or that the tenant was served with a DC-2  Notice.
          DHCR registration records, utilizing information submitted by the 
          owner, indicate service of the  apartment  registration  form  on
          June 8, 1984.  The  tenant  filed  his  objection,  in  which  he
          acknowledged receipt of the registration form,  on  September  4,
          1984, within 90 days of service of the registration.   Therefore,
          the Commissioner finds the Administrator properly determined that 
          the statutory criteria for filing a fair market rent appeal  were
          met in this case.

          The tenant in his objection form indicated that he was  filing  a
          fair market rent appeal, stated that the prior  tenant  had  told
          him that she paid rent of $239.00 per month, and  indicated  that
          he wished to know how the owner had derived his initial  rent  of
          $380.00 per month.  It is noted that the obligation  to  document
          the rental history of the subject apartment rests with the owner, 
          not the tenant.  The directive in  Section  2522.3(b)(2)  of  the
          Code that a tenant filing a fair market rent appeal provi e  sup-
          porting facts is qualified by the phrase "to the best of  his  or
          her information and belief."  Such directive cannot  be  read  to
          create a firm requirement and the  tenant's  failure  to  present
          such facts does not warrant dismissal of the tenant's fair market 
          rent appeal (Accord:  ARL 6666-L).



          Pursuant to Sections 2522.3(e) and (f) of the Rent  Stabilization
          Code for fair market rent appeals  filed  after  April  1,  1984,
          comparability will be determined based on the following:

               (e). . . .(1)  Legal regulated rents, for which the time
                         to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal has  expired
                         and  no  Fair  Market  Rent  Appeal  is   then
                         pending, or the Fair Market  Rent  Appeal  has
                         been finally determined, charged  pursuant  to
                         a lease commencing  within  a  4  year  period
                         prior to, or a one year period subsequent  to,
                         the commencement date  of  the  initial  lease
                         for the housing accommodation involved; and 

                         (2)  At the owner's option,  market  rents  in
                         effect for other comparable housi g  accommda-
                         tions on the date of  the  initial  lease  for
                         the housing  accommodation  involved  as  sub-
                         mitted by the owner.


               (f)      Where  the  rents  of  the  comparable  housing
                         accommodations  being  considered  are   legal
                         regulated rent, for which the time to  file  a
                         Fair Market Rent Appeal has expired, and  such
                         rents are charged pursuant to a  lease  ending







          BI 610297-RO
               more than 1 year  prior  to  the  commencement
                         date of the  initial  lease  for  the  subject
                         housing accommodation,  such  rents  shall  be
                         updated by guidelines  increases  for  1  year
                         renewal leases, commencing  with  the  expira-
                         tion of the initial lease for  the  comparable
                         housing accommodation  to  a  date  within  12
                         months prior to the  renting  of  the  housing
                         accommodation involved.

          The record in this case indicates that the owner was served  with
          a copy of the tenant's objection.  However,  the  owner  was  not
          afforded an opportunity to submit comparability data pursuant  to
          the requirements of the current Rent Stabilization Cod .   There-
          fore  the  Commissioner  finds  that  the  proceeding  should  be
          remanded to the Administrator for further processing in order  to
          afford the owner an  opportunity  to  submit  comparability  data
          pursuant to the  requirements  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Code
          effective May 1, 1987.  




          The Commissioner further finds that the Administrator  failed  to
          include the fuel cost allowance in calculating  the  fair  market
          rent and failed to include the major capital improvement increase 
          granted under Docket No. BCS  000086-OM  effective  September  1,
          1986.  These amounts, as well as the  increase  for  improvements
          previously allowed by the Administrator, should  be  included  in
          the Administrator's calculations.  The Commissioner further finds 
          that the additional 10% increase claimed by  the  owner  for  the
          tenant's initial three  year  lease  derives  from  the  standard
          guidelines applicable to leases for previously stabilized  apart-
          ments and does not apply to the determination of the fair  market
          rent for previously rent controlled apartments, which is based on 
          the special fair market rent guidelines.  Therefore such increase 
          should not be included by the Administrator  in  calculating  the
          fair market rent for the subject apartment.


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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby  is,  granted
          in part and the proceeding be, and the same hereby  is,  remanded
          to the District Rent  Administrator  for  further  processing  in
          accordance with this Order and Opinion.  The  automatic  stay  of
          so much of the District Rent Administrator's order as directed  a
          refund is hereby continued until  a  new  order  is  issued  upon
          remand.  However, the Administrator's  determination  as  to  the
          rent is not stayed and shall remain in  effect,  except  for  any
          adjustments pursuant to lease renewals, until  the  Administrator
          issues a new Order upon remand.


          ISSUED:









          BI 610297-RO

                                                                           
                                                JOSEPH A D'AGOSTA
                                                Deputy Commissioner


                                          
    

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