DOC. NO.: CF 910190-RT
                                  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

          ------------------------------------X
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :   ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO. CF 910190-RT
                                                  DISTRICT RENT  
               VICTORIA HEREDIA,  PETITIONER  :   ADMINISTRATOR'S
          ------------------------------------X   DOCKET NO. HBD 9-1-0001R
                             

            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                       IN PART

          On June 1, 1988, the above-named tenant filed a petition for 
          administrative review of an order issued on May 17, 1988 by a 
          District Rent Administrator concerning the housing accommodations 
          known as Route 202 The Manors, Apartment 3F, Pomona, New York, 
          wherein the Administrator dismissed the tenant's overcharge 
          complaint.

          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 petition for review.

          On April 6, 1987, the tenant filed a specific complaint of rent 
          overcharge.  The tenant stated that she took occupancy of the 
          subject apartment pursuant to a lease effective November 14, 1985 
          through July 31, 1987 at an initial rental of $535.38.  The tenant 
          stated that on August 1, 1986 the owner raised the rent by $24.09, 
          and that this charge is unlawful.  The tenant submitted with her 
          complaint the lease in question which did contain a provision for 
          a lease increase as of August 1, 1986.

          The owner failed to reply, and, in accordance with the notices sent 
          to the owner, the Administrator's determination was based upon the 
          evidence already in the record, and the registered rental history 
          of the subject apartment.

          In the order here under review, the Administrator determined that 
          no rent overcharge occurred and the tenant's complaint was 
          dismissed.  The Administrator found that the tenant took occupancy 
          after a vacancy.  The owner took a vacancy allowance for the 
          unexpired term of the existing lease, and the parties agreed to a 
          one-year additional term which included a 4 1/2% one-year guideline 
          increase from August 1, 1986 to July 31, 1987.  The order also 
          found that all subsequent increases were in compliance with the 
          rent guidelines.














          DOC. NO.: CF 910190-RT


          In her petition for administrative review the tenant alleges that 
          some of the Administrator's calculations in the order were 
          erroneous.  In addition, she asserts that she has been 
          inappropriately assessed late charges on some of the rent payments 
          subsequent to the increase when she withheld the increase from her 
          payments.  Finally, the tenant states that the owner has not 
          maintained certain services.

          The owner again failed to file any answer to the tenant's petition 
          for review.

          After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion 
          that this petition should be granted in part.

          The tenant took occupancy on November 14, 1985, before the prior 
          lease expired.   Section 2502.5(c)(6) of the Tenant Protection 
          Regulations is determinative in the instance.  The regulation 
          states that the vacancy lease should be based on the amount which 
          would be permissible if the last lease had been for a term ending 
          on the date the prior tenant vacated.  In accordance with DHCR 
          policy and precedent, in housing accommodations subject to the 
          tenant Protection Regulations, a landlord may not collect any 
          guideline increase for a renewal lease of less than one year, the 
          Commissioner is basing his recalculation on the rental paid for the 
          period of August 1, 1984 to July 31, 1985 ($495.04), rather than 
          the rental paid during the brief, unexpired lease term beginning 
          August 1, 1985 ($509.89).  The resulting computations indicate that 
          a rent overcharge did occur.  Therefore, the lawful stabilization 
          rent is established as $579.39 for the lease period of August 1, 
          1987 through July 30, 1989, and all subsequent rentals should be 
          based on this amount.

          The Commissioner is finding, for the first time in this proceeding, 
          that an overcharge occurred.  Accordingly, the issue of treble 
          damages must be considered.  The general rule states that treble 
          damages will be imposed unless the owner proves by a preponderance 
          of the evidence that the overcharge was not willful.  Since the 
          owner submitted no evidence whatsoever in this case, it clearly 
          failed to meet its burden of proof.  Therefore, the overcharge of 
          $102.44 through March 17, 1988 is trebled, and the total 
          overcharges are $312.58 including excess security ($5.26).

          The pertinent calculations are set forth on the annexed Rent 
          Calculation Chart which is fully incorporated into and made part of 
          this order and opinion.





           

          The tenant alleges that she is inappropriately being assessed late 
          charges.  Since this issue was not part of the tenant's complaint 




          DOC. NO.: CF 910190-RT

          and was not presented before the Rent Administrator it will not be 
          considered in this petition for administrative review.


          Similarly, the tenant's claim of a diminution of services is not 
          properly at issue in this administrative appeal.  The service 
          complaint is being processed and shall be resolved independently 
          from this overcharge complaint.


          THEREFORE, pursuant to the Emergency Tenant Protection Act and the 
          Tenant Protection Regulations, it is

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted in 
          part, and that the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the 
          same hereby is, revoked, and it is

          FURTHER ORDERED, that the owner is directed to refund $312.58 to 
          the tenant immediately.  If the owner has not complied, the tenant 
          may, upon the expiration of the period in which the owner may 
          institute a proceeding pursuant to Article Seventy-Eight of the 
          Civil Practice Law and Rules, offset against any rent thereafter 
          due the owner not in excess of twenty percent thereof per month.

          ISSUED:
                                                                          
                                             ELLIOT SANDER
                                             Deputy Commissioner

                                      





    

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