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

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.:               
                                                 CB 410133 RO 
                                                 DRO DOCKET NO.:           
                                                 011941 Examining Unit      
             ROBERT GERSHON AND 
             461 FT. WASHINGTON, INC.                                
                                                 Tenant - Oren Knighten     

                              PETITIONER      : 


               On February 17, 1988, the above-named owner filed a Petition 
          for Administrative Review against an order issued on January  13,
          1988 by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, New 
          York concerning  the  housing  accommodation  known  as  461  Ft.
          Washington Avenue, Apartment No. 46, New York, New  York  wherein
          the Administrator in  granting  the  tenant's  fair  market  rent
          appeal, established the Fair Market Rent at $405.83 and  directed
          the owner to refund $14,796.36 inclusive of excess security.

               The Commissioner has examined all of the evidence of  record
          and has carefully considered that portion of the record  relevant
          to the issues raised in the administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was commenced on  July  17,  1984  when  the
          tenant filed a challenge to the initial registered rent  alleging
          that the rent paid by the previous tenant  had  been  much  lower
          than the rent being collected.  The tenant  stated  that  he  had
          first rented the subject apartment on May 1, 1982 at  a  rent  of

               Notice of the tenant's objection as well as a demand  for  a
          full rental history was served on the owner on January 28, 1985.

               On February 12, 1986, the owner was advised that its failure 
          to submit a rental history of the subject  apartment  from  March
          31, 1980 might result in the establishment of the legal  rent  by
          use of the last maximum base rent.  The  owner  was  directed  to
          submit a list of similarly-sized apartments. 

               In  response,  the   owner   submitted   copies   of   prior
          correspondence with the tenant which indicated  that  the  tenant
          had previously filed and withdrawn a similar complaint  with  the

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: CB 410133 RO
          New York Conciliation and Appeals Board.

               In response to an inquiry by the  DHCR,  the  tenant  stated
          that he did not wish to withdraw the instant complaint.

               Subsequently,  the  owner  submitted  information  that  the
          subject apartment had been vacancy decontrolled in March 1982 and 
          the current tenant had commenced occupancy on May 1, 1982.

               In  the  order  here   under   appeal,   the   Administrator
          established the fair market rent at $405.83 effective May 1, 1982 
          and directed the  owner  to  refund  excess  rent  of  $14,796.36
          inclusive of excess security.

               In the appeal, the owner's request to reverse the  order  is
          based on: 1) the contention  that  the  instant  complaint  is  a
          duplication of two prior dockets, one filed with the Conciliation 
          and Appeals Board and the other with the DHCR, both of which  had
          been withdrawn by the tenant with the consequence that the  order
          terminating the complaint before the  DHCR  eliminated  any  rent
          overcharge issue through  March  25,  1987  and  established  the
          lawful rent as of that date; 2) the owner further  contends  that
          by  filing  multiple  complaints,  the  tenant  had  abused   the
          complaint procedure of the DHCR.  

               The tenant states that he withdrew the  previous  complaints
          in the belief that  the  owner  had  agreed  to  take  corrective
          measures  to  adjust  the  rent  and  to   ameliorate   deficient
          conditions.  The owner's failure to keep promises each  time  had
          caused him to refile.  The tenant  contends  that  he  has  filed
          complaints in an effort to  have  a  determination  made  of  the
          proper rent. 

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this  matter  should
          be remanded for further processing.

               The Commissioner finds that the owner's contentions are  not
          persuasive.  Pursuant to Code Section 2520.13,  an  agreement  to
          waive the benefit of any provision of the Rent Stabilization  Law

          or Code is void; provided, however, that based upon a  negotiated
          settlement between the parties and with the approval 
          of the DHCR, or a court of competent jurisdiction where a  tenant
          is represented by counsel, a tenant may withdraw, with prejudice, 
          any complaint pending before the DHCR.  

               Review of the  evidence  reveals  that  in  neither  of  the
          previous proceedings did the withdrawal  fulfill  the  conditions
          imposed by Code Section  2520.13.   Accordingly,  any  waiver  of
          benefit  implied  by  the  owner's  submission  of  the  tenant's
          withdrawal of the prior proceedings  is  void.   Furthermore,  an
          overcharge complaint and a Fair Market  Rent  Appeal  (FMRA)  are
          separate  and  distinct.   The  termination  of  the   overcharge
          complaint does not preclude making a determination in the FMRA.

               Moreover, the terminated proceeding was not fully considered 
          but its termination was based on the complaint's withdrawal which 
          was itself based upon a settlement agreement that the owner  does

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: CB 410133 RO
          not deny having breached.  The Commissioner finds that there  was
          no abuse of the complaint procedure by the tenant who was seeking 
          the establishment of the legal rent  in  accord  with  applicable
          laws and regulations.

               Nevertheless, the Commissioner finds  that  this  proceeding
          should be remanded for  further  processing.   Effective  May  1,
          1987, the determination of fair market rent appeals was  governed
          by Section 2522.3(e), (f).  The owner should have  been  notified
          and given the opportunity to submit comparables pursuant to  this

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

               ORDERED, that this petition be,  and  the  same  hereby  is,
          granted to the extent of remanding  the  proceeding  for  further
          processing in accordance with this order and opinion.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Deputy Commissioner



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