BJ 130272 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     SJR 5507 (Deemed Denial)
          IN THE MATTER OF  THE  ADMINISTRATIVE      ADMINISTRATIVE  REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:  BJ 130272-RO

                  SULZBERGER-ROLFE, INC.,
                                                  DRO DOCKET NOS.: Q-3109590-R
                                                                   CDR 31397
                                  PETITIONER      TENANT:  RHODA WEINER
          ----------------------------------X                                   


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          


          On October 9, 1987 the above named petitioner former-owner  filed
          a Petition for Administrative Review against an order  issued  on
          September 10,  1987   by  the  District  Rent  Administrator,  10
          Columbus  Circle,  New  York,   New   York   concerning   housing
          accommodations  known  as  Apartment  1006   at   125-10   Queens
          Boulevard, Kew  Gardens,  New  York  wherein  the  District  Rent
          Administrator determined  that  the  owner  had  overcharged  the
          tenant.

          The  issue  in  this  appeal  is  whether   the   District   Rent
          Administrator's order was warranted.

          The applicable sections of the Law are Section 26-516 of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and  Section  2526.1(a)  of  the  current  Rent
          Stabilization Code.

          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, in  which  she
          stated that she had commenced occupancy on December 17, 1980 at a 
          rent of $524.77 per month.





          The (former) owner, Sulzberger-Rolfe, Inc.,  was  served  with  a
          copy of the complaint on February 25, 1985 and was  requested  to
          submit rent records to prove the lawfulness  of  the  rent  being
          charged.  In answer to  the  complaint,  the  owner  submitted  a
          rental history from 1975, and a "New Equipment Order" form of its 
          owner devising dated November 24, 1980 which calculated an  $8.25
          rent  increase  to  $524.77  for  a  12   cubic   foot   Hotpoint






          BJ 130272 RO
          refrigerator.

          On January 6, 1987 Sulzberger-Rolfe Inc., was sent a Final Notice 
          of Pending Default, which stated in substance that unless  leases
          were submitted from the base date, certain DHCR procedures  would
          be used to establish the lawful stabilization  rent,  and  treble
          damages would be imposed on willful overcharges occurring  on  or
          after April 1, 1984.

          In Order Number CDR 31397, the  District  Rent  Administrator  by
          using  the  default  procedure  and  imposing   treble   damages,
          determined that the tenant had been overcharged in the amount  of
          $13,270.45 as of December 31, 1986; and  directed  the  owner  to
          refund such overcharge to the tenant as well  as  to  reduce  the
          rent.

          In this petition, Sulzberger-Rolfe, Inc.,  contends  among  other
          things that it substantially complied  with  the  Administrator's
          request for prior leases by  submitting  a  rental  history  from
          1975; and that the Administrator's  order should have reflected a 
          rent reduction and refund given to the tenant. 

          In answer the tenant asserts in substance that,  while  her  rent
          was reduced, she  never  received  any  payment  for  overcharges
          through March, 1985; and that treble damages are warranted  since
          the owner does not dispute the overcharge but has failed  to  pay
          the amount ordered or even the amount earlier promised.

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

          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) to date and  to  produce
          such records to the DHCR upon demand.


          Section 26-516 of 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
          produce rent records for more than 4  years  prior  to  the  most
          recent registration, and  concomitantly,  established  a  4  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 right to have the lawful stabilized rent determined from 






          BJ 130272 RO
          the June 30, 1974 base date and so  as  not  to  deprive  tenants
          whose overcharge claims accrued more than 4 years prior to  April
          1, 1984 of their 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), 
          in cases involving rent  overcharge  complaints  filed  prior  to
          April 1, 1984.

          However, it has recently been held in the case of J.R.D. Mgt.  v.
          Eimicke, 148 A.D.2d 610, 539 N.Y.S.2d 667  (App.  Div.  2d  Dep't
          1989), motion for leave to reargue or for leave to appeal to  the
          Court of Appeals denied (App. Div. 2d Dep't, 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  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 4 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  Dep't  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 present 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.
          Beginning with the previously submitted September 1,  1979  lease
          the Commissioner has set forth the lawful stabilization rents  on
          the amended rent calculation chart attached  hereto  and  made  a
          part hereof, and has determined that no overcharge occurred as of 
          March 31, 1985.

          If the owner has already complied with the Administrator's  order
          and there are arrears due to the owner as a result of the present 
          determination, the owner is directed to allow the tenant  to  pay
          off the arrears in twelve equal monthly installments.  Should the 
          tenant vacate after the issuance of this order  or  have  already
          vacated, said arrears shall be payable immediately.

          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 that the District Rent Administrator's order be,  and
          the same hereby is, revoked since there was no  overcharge.   The
          lawful stabilization rents are established on the attached chart, 
          which is fully made a part of this order, and it  is  found  that
          there was no overcharge as of March 1, 1985.






          BJ 130272 RO



          ISSUED:
                                                  ------------------------
                                                  ELLIOT SANDER
                                                  Deputy Commissioner
           
             
                                          
    

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