CE 110205 RO

                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
          ------------------------------------X  SJR NO. 6382
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO. CE 110205 RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.Q-3122219 RT
               JONATHAN WOODMER CO.              TENANT: ROBERT TANKEL        

                                PETITIONER    : 

               On May 18, 1989,  the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on      
          April 14, 1988, by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New 
          York, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as     
          43-23 Colden Street, Queens, New York, Apartment No. 20 G,
          wherein the Rent Administrator determined that the owner had 
          overcharged the tenant.  Subsequently, the owner brought a 
          mandamus proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice 
          Law and Rules to have its petition decided in an expeditious 

          The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of Section 2526.1 of the Rent Stabilization Code.

          The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator's order 
          was warranted.

          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 appeal.  

          This proceeding was originally commenced by the filing in     
          March, 1984, of a rent overcharge complaint by the tenant who 
          stated that he fist moved to the subject apartment in 1969 and 
          submitted a rental history from 1969.

          The owner did not file an answer to the tenant's complaint. 
          In Order Number CDR 33,157, the Rent Administrator 
          determined that, due to the owner's failure to submit a complete 
          rental history, the tenant had been overcharged in the amount of
          $2905.54  and directed the owner to refund such overcharge to the 
          tenant as well as to reduce the rent.

          In this petition, the owner contends in substance that an 
          examination of the rental history from 1969 discloses that no rent 

          CE 110205 RO
          overcharge occurred.  In support of such contention, the owner 
          submitted copies of leases from 1969.

          In answer to the owner's petition, the tenant stated in 
          substance that his contention is that the initial rent charged him 
          in 1969 was not correct in that the owner failed to produce a 
          rental history prior to 1969.

          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) and to produce 
          such records to the DHCR upon demand.

          Section 26-516 of the 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 to produce rent records for more than four (4) years 
          prior to the most recent registration, and concomitantly, 
          established a four year limitation on the calculation of rent 

          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 rights 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 four years prior to April 1, 1984 of the 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. 
          Mgmt. v. Eimicke, 148 A.D.2d 610. 539 N.Y.S. 2d 667 (App. Div. 2d 
          Dept., 1989). motion for leave to reargue or for leave to appeal 
          to the Court of Appeals denied ( App. Div. 2d Dept., 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, 

          CE 110205 RO
          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 four 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 Dept. 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.  An examination of the rent records from April 1, 1980 
          discloses that no rent overcharge occurred.  Therefore, the Rent 
          Administrator's order finding a rent overcharge must be revoked.

          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 is permitted to 
          pay off the arrears in 24 equal monthly installments.  Should the 
          tenant vacate after the issuance of this order or have already 
          vacated, said arrears shall be payable immediately.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Appellate Division ruling 
          in JRD, it is

          ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and 
          the same hereby is, granted, that the order of the Rent 
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, revoked, and it is found 
          that no rent overcharge occurred.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner


          CE 110205 RO


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