Docket Number: BL 130024-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



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          IN THE MATTER OF  THE  ADMINISTRATIVE      ADMINISTRATIVE  REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: BL 130024-RO

            VERCO ASSOCIATES,
                                                  DRO DOCKET NO.: Q 3108262-R

                                  PETITIONER    
          ----------------------------------X                                   


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On December 15, 1987, the above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review of an order issued on July  3,
          1987, by the District Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New 
          York,  New  York,  concerning  housing  accommodations  known  as
          Apartment F-17, 99-31 64 Avenue, Forest Hills,  New  York  11374,
          wherein the  District  Rent  Administrator  determined  that  the
          tenant had been overcharged.

          The owner contends that the first notice it had of  the  issuance
          of the order being appealed was by  letter  sent  by  the  tenant
          dated November 30, 1987, and thus was  unable  to  file  its  PAR
          within the 35 day period from issuance of the order.

          A review of the records of the Division discloses that the  owner
          notified the Division of a change of address in the April 1, 1987 
          registration.  Since the Administrator failed to send  the  order
          to the correct address the owner's PAR will be accepted as timely 
          filed.

          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 filing of a  rent
          overcharge complaint  by  the  tenant  with  the  New  York  City
          Conciliation and Appeals Board, one of the  predecessor  agencies
          to the DHCR.  The tenant  took  occupancy  pursuant  to  a  lease
          commencing July 1, 1979 and expiring June 30, 1981 at  a  monthly
          rent of $520.00.

          The owner was served  with  a  copy  of  the  complaint  and  was
          requested to submit rent records to prove the lawfulness  of  the
          rent being charged.  In answer to the complaint, the owner stated 
          that it purchased the building  on  January  4,  1983,  that  the
          building converted to a cooperative in  January  1984,  that  the
          rents for 5-1/2 room Apartments vary  from  $464.00  to  $653.00,
          that the tenants paying the  lowest  rents  have  occupied  their
          apartments for many years, that a complete rent history  for  the






          Docket Number: BL 130024-RO

          subject apartment is  not  available,  and  that  the  owner  has
          collected only allowable increases.

          In support of this contention, the owner submitted the  following
          documents:  

               Copy of lease for subject apartment for July 1,  1979  -
               June 30, 1981, renewals for June 30,  1981  -  June  30,
               1984 and June 30, 1984 - June 30, 1986; a  current  rent
               roll, various  copies  of  apartment  leases  for  other
               tenants in apartments of the same number of rooms.


          In Order Number  Q-3108262-R,  CDR  #30,775,  the  District  Rent
          Administrator determined that the tenant had been overcharged and 
          set the lawful stabilization rent at $444.44 as of July  1,  1979
          based on the owner's failure to provide a full rental history and 
          ordered the owner to refund the overcharges.

          In this petition, the  owner  contends  that  the  District  Rent
          Administrator's Order is incorrect and should be modified because 
          although leases could not be provided going back to 1974, it  did
          provide leases as far back as 1979 as well as  a  rent  roll  and
          copies of the offering  plan  showing  the  range  of  rents  for
          apartments of the same size.  

          In answer to this petition, the tenants contend  that  the  order
          should be upheld because the purpose of their  complaint  was  to
          verify the accuracy of the monthly  rental  under  their  initial
          lease, and the owner has not submitted any new information  which
          would substantially modify the DHCR's original finding.

          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 






          Docket Number: BL 130024-RO

          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 
          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).

          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 instant 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.







          Docket Number: BL 130024-RO

          In this case, the owner  has  submitted  a  rental  history  that
          conforms to the JRD ruling.  Recalculation of the rent from April 
          1, 1980 indicates that the tenant was not overcharged.

          If the owner has already complied with the Administrator's  Order
          and, as a result of the instant determination, there are  arrears
          due to the owner from the tenant, the  tenant  may  pay  off  the
          arrears in twenty-four equal monthly installments during the next 
          twenty-four months.  Should the tenant vacate after the  issuance
          of this Order, all arrears are due immediately.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is granted and 
          the Administrator's order be, and the same  hereby  is,  revoked,
          and it is determined that the tenant was not overcharged.  

          ISSUED:



                                                                        
                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner
    

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