BJ 430179 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.: BJ 430179-RO 
                                                
            ICC REALTY CORP.,                    D.R.O. DOCKET NO.: TA 11830
               
                                PETITIONER     
          ----------------------------------X                           
            
            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                     IN PART AND AMENDING ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER

          On October 30, 1989,  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) against an  order  issued
          on September 25,  1987  by  the  then  Rent  Administrator  of  10
          Columbus Circle, New York City District  Rent  Office,  concerning
          the subject accommodations known as  244  West  72nd  Street,  New
          York, New York, Apartment 8D, wherein the Administrator determined 
          the tenant's Fair Market Rent appeal.

          In the September 25, 1987 order the Administrator found  that  the
          owner had failed to substantiate service of the Initial  Regulated
          Rent Notice (DC-2) on the tenant or that the tenant had  consented
          in writing to the installation of the new stove,  established  the
          legal regulated  rent  at  $350.22,  effective  the  date  of  the
          commencement of the initial lease by averaging the results of  the
          Special Guidelines test  with  the  result  of  the  comparability
          study, and directed the owner to roll back the rent and to  refund
          or credit any excess rent paid by the tenant. 

          The tenant took possession of the subject accommodations on August 
          1, 1981 at a monthly rent of $500.00 as the first  rent-stabilized
          tenant.

          The tenant claimed that she was not served  with  a  copy  of  the
          Initial Regulated Rent Notice (DC-2), and stated that she believed 
          that the initial rent charged exceeded the Fair  Market  Rent  for
          the apartment.

          The owner responded that a DC-2 notice was served on  the  tenant.
          In support  the  owner  submitted  an  affidavit  from  the  prior
          managing agent attesting that it was the owner's practice  at  the
          time to serve every first stabilized tenant with a DC-2 notice  by
          certified mail or by personal delivery.  However, the owner failed 
          to substantiate service by any independent  evidence.   The  owner
          did not produce a copy of the DC-2 notice allegedly served, nor  a
          copy of a certified mail receipt.  Copies of the tenant's  initial
          lease, and Landlord's Report of Statutory Decontrol (R-42 Notice), 
          among other contemporaneous  documents,  were  submitted  however.
          Additionally, the affiant stated that  he  "did  not  specifically
          remember the events surrounding the leasing of  the  apartment  to
          Ms. [tenant's surname], who was the first stabilized tenant."








          BJ 430179 RO

          The owner also claimed that  the  tenant  had  agreed  to  pay  an
          additional $6.00 per month for the installation of  a  new  stove,
          but was unable to submit proof of  the  tenant's  written  consent
          for such installation.  The tenant did not deny the claim,  raised
          for the first time in the owner's response.

          The owner's argument on appeal is, in essence, that  the  tenant's
          failure to  controvert  or  challenge  the  owners  "evidence"  by
          affidavit established that the DC-2 notice was served, or that  at
          the very least, shifted to the tenant the burden of  proving  that
          she had  not  received  the  DC-2  notice.   The  petitioner  also
          requests that if the fair market rent appeal is not  dismissed  at
          PAR, a hearing be held as to the issue  of  service  of  the  DC-2
          notice.

          After careful consideration the Commissioner  is  of  the  opinion
          that the petition should be denied.

          Section 26(A) of the former Rent Stabilization Code  provided,  in
          pertinent part,  that  a  tenant  is  entitled  to  apply  for  an
          adjustment of the initial regulated rent and to receive notice  of
          such rent, together with a  statement  as  to  the  right  of  the
          appeal, and that the notice be served by the  owner  by  certified
          mail.  Section 2523.1  of  the  current  Rent  Stabilization  Code
          contains similar provisions.

          The owner's affidavit by the prior managing agent  attesting  that
          it was the owner's practice to serve every first stabilized tenant 
          with a DC-2 notice did not establish service of such notice.

          One Court had sustained  DHCR's  position  that  an  affidavit  of
          service does not constitute adequate proof  of  mailing.   In  JRD
          Management v Eimicke, 148 AD2d 718, 539 NYS 2d 669 (A.D. 2d  Dept,
          1989), the Court held that a "DHCR determination that an affidavit 
          of service does not constitute other adequate proof of mailing  is
          neither arbitrary nor  capricious."   JRD  Management  established
          that an affidavit of service was inadequate to constitute adequate 
          proof of timely mailing of a Petition for Administrative Review.

          Herein, an affidavit from a former agent  or  employee,  submitted
          without relevant supporting documentation, prepared several  years
          after the matters described herein rather than  contemporaneously,
          prepared for the purpose of  an  administrative  proceedings,  and
          possibly in contemplation of  judicial  proceedings,  and  setting
          forth that the affiant did not remember the event surrounding  the








          BJ 430179 RO

          leasing, is scant evidence  to  establish  service  of  notice  by
          normal office procedure, and thoroughly inadequate  to  constitute
          independent proof of service.

          The Commissioner similarly rejects the petitioner's argument  that
          the tenant's  failure  to  contest  or  challenge  the  "evidence"
          established that a DC-2 notice was served.  The  owner's  response
          merely joined issue, with the tenant's complaint that she was  not
          served the DC-2 notice, the sufficient to permit the issues to  be
          considered.

          Nor was the affidavit insufficient to shift the burden of proof to 
          the  tenant.   The  attestation  that  the  owner's  then   normal
          procedures alternatively provided service of, the DC-2  Notice  by
          personal  delivery  by  the  owners  employees,  rather  than   by
          certified mail, constitutes compelling  evidence  that  the  owner
          may have failed to comply with Code provisions  requiring  service
          by certified mail without establishing service of the DC-2  notice
          by ad hoc alternate means not provided in the regulations.

          In light of the owner's failure to establish service of  the  DC-2
          notice by certified mail in this instance, or to come forward with 
          a signed copy of the alleged notice, or to explain why the  signed
          DC-2 notice or the certified mail receipt could  not  be  produced
          while other contemporaneous documents were presented,  the  tenant
          had no obligation to come forward to establish that  she  had  not
          received a DC-2 notice. 

          With the PAR, the owner has submitted a copy of a  signed,  albeit
          undated, written  statement  of  tenants  consent  to  $6.00  rent
          increase for a new stove, contained on a form entitled "Landlords' 
          Application for Increase in Maximum Rent.  As the issue was raised 
          below, documented by  independent  evidence  on  appeal,  and  not
          challenged by the tenant, the Commissioner is of the opinion  that
          the rent adjustment was  proper.   The  Administrator's  order  is
          amended to the  extent  of  permitting  the  owner  a  $6.00  rent
          adjustment for  the  installation  of  a  new  stove.   The  legal
          regulated rents have been recomputed per the attached chart  which
          is fully made a part of this order.  In  all  other  respects  the
          Administrator's order is affirmed.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is granted  in
          part,  and  the  Administrator's  determination  be  modified   as
          provided above.

          ISSUED:

                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner
    

TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name