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

                                                                 Fewer 9/9

          APPEAL OF                               ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
               Michael Schneider, Owner           DOCKET  NOS:  BJ110203RO,
                       and                        BJ110234RT
               Donna Martinello, Tenant           D.R.O. DOCKET NO: 43441



          On September 12, 1987 and September  29,  1987  the  above  named
          petitioners filed Petitions for Administrative Review against  an
          order  issued  on  August  27,  1987,  by   the   District   Rent
          Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, New York, concerning 
          housing accommodations known as Apartment 4A, 45-16 44th  Street,
          Sunnyside, New York,  wherein  the  District  Rent  Administrator
          determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.

          The  issue  in  these  appeals  is  whether  the  District   Rent
          Administrator's order was warranted. 

          The applicable sections of the law are Sections 2522.4 and 2526.1 
          of the 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 appeals.

          This proceeding was commenced on August 31, 1984 by the  tenant's
          filing of an objection to the rent/services registration  wherein
          the tenant contended in substance that she was being overcharged, 
          and that her stove and refrigerator were defective.

          In its answer to the tenant's objection, the owner  contended  in
          substance that the prior tenant made an agreement with the  prior
          owner whereby the prior tenant would provide his own refrigerator 
          in return for a $10.00 rent  reduction;  that  when  the  current
          tenant  moved  in,  the  owner  installed  a   refrigerator   and
          reinstated the $10.00 charge; and the  owner  is  entitled  to  a
          $9.80 rent increase for a new stove which was  installed  in  the
          subject apartment in May of 1986.

          In Docket Number 43441 issued August 27,1987, the  District  Rent
          Administrator determined that the  tenant  had  been  overcharged

          since Janury 1,1986, and accordingly directed the owner to refund 
          to the tenant $2969.52 which included excess security and  treble
          damages on that portion of the overcharge occurring on  or  after
          April 1, 1984.

          The tenant, in her  petition,  contends  in  substance  that  the
          District Rent Administrator's order is incorrect  and  should  be
          modified because she never consented to rent  increases  for  the
          installations of a new stove and refrigerator.

          The owner, in  his  petition,  contends  in  substance  that  the
          District Rent Administrator's order is incorrect  and  should  be
          modified because in 1981 he was new to the business of  apartment
          house management, had limited knowledge of English  and  of  rent
          stabilization, and therefore he did not willfully overcharge  the
          tenant, and treble damages should not apply.

          In response the tenant contends in substance that treble  damages
          are justified.

          In rebuttal, the owner contends in substance that treble  damages
          should not be imposed, and that the prior tenant paid  a  monthly
          rent of  $189.00  rather  than  $184.63.   In  support  of  these
          contentions,  the  owner  submitted  a  copy  of  a   stipulation
          agreement signed by the Hon. Eugene J. Barkowitz of the New  York
          City Civil Court, Queens County dated August 29, 1980 wherein  it
          was agreed that the monthly rent for the  subject  apartment  was

          The Commissioner is of the opinion  that  both  the  owner's  and
          tenant's petitions should be granted in part.

          An examination of the record in the instant case  indicates  that
          the base rent for the subject apartment was $189.00  rather  than
          $184.63 as evidenced by the  above-mentioned  court  stipulation.
          Accordingly,  the  Commissioner  finds  that  the   Administrator
          improperly set  the  base  rent  for  the  subject  apartment  as

          A further examination of  the  rental  history  for  the  subject
          apartment discloses that the lease commencing on January 1,  1983
          was a three year renewal lease which terminated on  December  31,
          1985.  Unfortunately, the  Administrator  incorrectly  considered
          this lease as a two year lease. 

          Section  2522.4  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Code  provides  in
          pertinent part that an  owner  is  entitled  to  a  monthly  rent
          increase of one-fortieth of the total cost for  the  installation
          of new equipment  in  a  tenant's  apartment  upon  the  tenant's
          written consent to the rent increase.   In  the  case  of  vacant
          housing accommodations, tenant consent shall not be required.  In 
          the instant case, the tenant did not consent to a  rent  increase
          of either the new stove or refrigerator.  Thus, the  Commissioner
          finds  that  the  Administrator  incorrectly  permitted  a   rent
          increase of $9.80 for the new stove installation.

          The Commissioner notes  that  for  the  two  year  renewal  lease
          commencing January 1, 1986, the owner retained a security deposit 
          of $284.55.  Since the legal regulated rent for this  lease  term
          ($297.52) is more than the amount of the  security  deposit,  the

          Commissioner finds that there is no excess security in this case. 

          Based on the foregoing, the  Commissioner  has  recalculated  the
          lawful stabilization rents  and  amounts  of  overcharge  on  the
          amended rent calculation chart attached hereto and  made  a  part

          Finally,  with  regard  to  the  owner's  contention   that   the
          imposition  of  treble  damages   was   erroneous   because   the
          overcharges were not willful, the  Commissioner  notes  that  the
          owner  has  not  submitted  any  evidence  to  support  his  bare
          allegation.  Hence, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator 
          correctly  assessed  treble  damages  on  that  portion  of   the
          overcharge occurring on or after April 1, 1984.

          Because this determination concerns  lawful  rents  only  through
          the date of August 31, 1987 used  in  the  Administrator's  order
          being appealed, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rents 
          to an amount no greater than that determined by this  order  plus
          any lawful increases, and to register  any  adjusted  rents  with
          this Order and Opinion being given as  the  explanation  for  the

          If the owner has already complied with the  Rent  Administrator's
          order and there are arrears due to the owner as a result  of  the
          instant determination, the tenant shall be permitted 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.

          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  as  a
          judgement or not in excess of twenty percent  per  month  thereof
          may be offset against any rent thereafter due the owner. 

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

          ORDERED, that the tenant's petition (BJ110234RT) be, and the same 
          hereby  is,  granted  in  part,   that   the   owner's   petition
          (BJ110203RO) be, and the same hereby is,  granted  in  part,  and
          that the District Rent Administrator's order  be,  and  the  same
          hereby is, modified in accordance with this order and opinion.

          The lawful stabilization rents  and  amounts  of  overcharge  are
          established on the attached chart which is fully made a  part  of
          this order.


                                             ELLIOT SANDER
                                             Deputy Commissioner 

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