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

     APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: BJ 430245-RO
                                            DRO DOCKET NO.: L 3112565-R
                           PETITIONER    : 


     On October 15, 1987, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition for 
     Administrative Review of 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  1E,  416  West  47th
     Street, New York, New York 10036 wherein the District  Rent  Administrator
     determined that the tenant had been overcharged.

     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.

     The Commissioner notes that this proceeding was initiated prior  to  April
     1, 1984.  Sections 2526.1(a)(4) and 2521.1(d) of  the  Rent  Stabilization
     Code (effective May 1, 1987) governing rent  overcharge  and  fair  market
     rent proceedings provide that determination of these matters be based upon 
     the law or code provisions in effect on March 31, 1984.  Therefore, unless 
     otherwise indicated, reference to sections of the Rent Stabilization  Code
     (Code) contained herein are to the Code in effect on April 30, 1987.

     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
     and owner entered into an  initial  lease  commencing  June  1,  1982  and
     expiring May 31, 1984 at a monthly rent of $338.66.  The tenant,  however,
     resided in the apartment since 1980 as a roommate of the prior tenant.

     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  property
     in January 1983 and was never provided with any information other than the 
     current leases.  The owner could not provide the base rent  date  for  the
     apartment and stated that such date  was  unknown.   The  owner  submitted
     copies of a rent roll for September 1984, and leases for the  period  from
     June 23, 1980 through May 31, 1986.

     In Order Number L 3112565-R, the District  Rent  Administrator  determined
     that the owner failed to provide a full rental history and set the  lawful


          DOCKET NUMBER: BJ 430245-RO
     stabilization rent as of June 1, 1986 at $316.50, assessed treble  damages
     on that portion of the overcharge  occurring  after  April  1,  1984,  and
     awarded a total overcharge of $5099.46.

     In  this  petition,  the   owner   contends   that   the   District   Rent
     Administrator's Order is incorrect and should be modified because although 
     the law requires an owner to retain documentation back to the base date, 
     it has complied to the best of its ability in contacting the former  owner
     and providing a rent roll.   Furthermore,  the  owner  contends  that  any
     overcharge should have been apportioned between  the  present  and  former

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

     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.  

     The owner, was notified of its obligation to provide documentation back to 
     the base date, but failed to do so.  The Commissioner  notes  that  it  is
     incumbent upon a new owner to obtain the  requisite  rent  histories  when
     taking title to a building.  Although the initial overcharge collected for 
     the subject apartment occurred under  a  prior  owner,  an  owner  has  an
     independent obligation to ensure that it is collecting only lawful  rents.
     A failure to obtain a rental history will not serve to  excuse  a  present
     owner from compliance with  the  Rent  Stabilization  Law  and  Code.  The
     Commissioner finds, therefore, that the Administrator properly  determined
     the lawful stabilized rent  using  established  procedures  based  on  the
     owner's failure to submit complete rental data.  

     Section 2526.1(f) of the  current  Rent  Stabilization  Code  provides  in
     pertinent part that for overcharges collected prior to April 1,  1984,  an
     owner will be held  responsible  only  for  his  or  her  portion  of  the
     overcharges, in the absence of collusion or any relationship between  such
     owner and any prior owner.

     The District Rent Administrator failed to specify  the  exact  amounts  of
     overcharge attributable to  the  prior  and  current  owners.   Since  the
     uncontroverted evidence is that  the  present  owner  took  title  to  the
     premises on January 5, 1983 and that all rental payments due  for  January
     1, 1983 were paid to the current owner, the prior owner is liable for  the
     overcharges it collected from June 1, 1982 to December  31,  1982  in  the
     amount of $518.56.  Since  there  is  no  evidence  of  any  collusion  or
     relationship between the current owner and  the  prior  owner,  the  owner
     herein is responsible only for overcharges occurring from January 1,  1983
     through September 30, 1987 in the  amount  of  $4580.90  including  excess
     security and interest on that portion of the overcharge  occurring  on  or
     after April 1, 1984.

     As to the overcharge liability of the current owner, this order may,  upon
     the expiration of the period in which the owner may institute a proceeding 


          DOCKET NUMBER: BJ 430245-RO
     pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, be  filed  and
     enforced as a judgment, or, not in excess  of  twenty  percent  per  month
     thereof may be offset against any rent thereafter due the owner.

     The Commissioner notes that the prior owner or owners were  not  named  by
     the tenant in this proceeding and have not  been  served  to  date.   This
     order is therefore issued without prejudice to the tenant's right, if any, 
     to  proceed  against  the  prior  owner(s)  in  a   court   of   competent

     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 District Rent Administrator's order be and  the  same  hereby  is,
     modified in accordance with this order and opinion.


                                     ELLIOT SANDER
                                     Deputy Commissioner


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