CG 110087 RO; CG 110090 RT
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEALS OF                            DOCKET NOS.:  CG 110087 RO
                                                              CG 110090 RT
                                                DRO DOCKET NO.: Q 3120663 R
               RICHARD ALBERT-OWNER                             CDR 33,534
               LOUIS LINDER-TENANT,
                                                TENANT: LOUIS LINDNER

                              FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                       IN PART

          On July 19, 1988, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition 
          for Administrative Review against an order issued on June 16, 1988,  
          by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle New York New York, 
          concerning the housing accommodations known as 94-03 222nd Street, 
          Queens, New York, Apartment No. 3C, wherein the Rent Administrator 
          determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.

          On July 13, 1988, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against the aforementioned 
          order.  These petitions are being consolidated for disposition 

          The Administrative Appeals are 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 

          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 appeals.  

          This proceeding was originally commenced by the filing of a rent 
          overcharge complaint by the tenant in March 1984. 

          The owner was served with a copy of the tenant's complaint and 
          submitted a complete rental history as required.  The owner stated 
          in substance that the tenant was the first rent stabilized tenant 
          after vacancy decontrol in March 1978.  The owner submitted a copy 
          of the Landlord's Report of Statutory Decontrol (R42) as 
          substantiation of the base date.

          CG 110087 RO; CG 110090 RT

          The Rent Administrator served the owner with a copy of the Fair 
          Market Rent Appeal Notice and afforded the owner the opportunity to 
          submit comparability data to be used in establishing the Initial 
          Legal Regulated Rent.

          In Order Number 33,534, the Rent Administrator determined that the 
          initial rent charged the tenant did not exceed the Fair Market Rent 
          and dismissed the tenant's Fair Market challenge.  The Rent 
          Administrator determined that subsequently the tenant had been 
          overcharged in the amount of $10.90 from April 1, 1983 thru March 
          31, 1985.

          In the owner's petition, the owner alleges in substance that the 
          Rent Administrator erred in stating that the owner did not respond.  
          The owner cited its submission of December 31, 1984.  The owner 
          also contends that the tenant failed to allege that the rent 
          exceeded the fair market rent; that the current law does not oblige 
          the owner to produce records beyond 4 years or calculate 
          overcharges prior to April 1, 1980; that the calculation system was 
          defective in that it allowed the tenant to pay $32.56 less than the 
          Fair Market Rent but calculated an overcharge of $0.44 in excess of 
          the lawful rent which would be eliminated if the Rent Administrator 
          rounded to the nearest dollar as other agencies do; that it was 
          unfairly denied an opportunity for a hearing; and that the tenant 
          is harassing the owner by cooperating with another tenant and in 
          violation of a court stipulation.

          In answer to the owner's petition, the tenant stated in substance 
          that the owner's petition should be denied as unsubstantiated and 
          the Rent Administrator's order is warranted.

          In the tenant's petition, the tenant contends in substance that he 
          had provided updated rental data to the Rent Administrator and 
          therefore the order should be modified to adjust the overcharge and 
          monthly rent by the inclusion of the updated rental data.

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

          The Rent Administrator was correct in processing the tenant's 
          complaint of overcharges as a Fair Market Rent Appeal (hereafter 
          FMRA) based on the tenant's status as the first rent stabilized 
          tenant, a fact corroborated by the owner's submission of the Report 
          of Statutory Decontrol (R42).

          Although the tenant did not specifically state in his overcharge 
          complaint that his initial rent was in excess of the fair market 
          rent, he stated that the owner failed to submit a complete rental 
          history so that the tenant had no way of knowing whether he was the 
          initial rent stabilized tenant.

          The Rent Administrator was correct in stating in the facts of the 
          order that the owner failed to respond with the necessary data.  
          Although the owner submitted the December 31, 1984 response as 
          alleged, the owner did not submit a response to the FMRA notices 
          served on March 11, 1988 and May 18, 1988 which afford the owner 
          the opportunity to submit comparable apartments.  In any event such 
          submission by the owner would not have been necessary as the 

          CG 110087 RO; CG 110090 RT

          Administrator determined that the initial stabilized rent did not 
          exceed the fair market rent based on the Special Guideline alone.

          The owner is correct in that current Law limits the owner's 
          obligation to provide rent records to a period not more than 4 
          (four) years prior to the most recent rent registration and 
          concomitantly established a four year limitation on the calculation 
          of rent overcharges.  This provision however does not apply to FMRA 
          proceedings.  Moreover, in the instant order the question is moot 
          because the Rent Administrator's finding of overcharge do not 
          extend beyond the 4 year limitation period.

          The owner's contention that the overcharge was due to the accepted 
          practice of rounding sums to whole dollars is without merit.  There 
          is no provision in the Rent Stabilization Law which permits the 
          owner to collect a rent in excess of the lawful stabilization rent 
          by means of dollar rounding.

          The owner's contention that the calculation system is defective 
          because it permitted the collection of a rental below the lawful 
          stabilization rent by $32.56 but disallowed a rental in excess of 
          only $0.44 is without merit.  The increases permitted by the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and Code are maximum rents which may not be 
          exceeded; however, nothing therein prohibits the owner from 
          charging less than the maximum permissible rent. (Collingwood 
          Enterprises v. Gribetz NYLJ, April 24, 1975, p.17, col.6 Sup. Ct.) 
          Fine, J).

          The owner's contention that it was unfairly denied a hearing is 
          without merit.  During the processing of the complaint there 
          existed no factual dispute which warranted a hearing.

          The remainder of the owner's contentions with regard to the 
          violation of court stipulations and harassment are without merit.  
          There is no evidence that the complainant was a party to the 
          proceedings cited by the owner.

          With regard to the tenant's petition, an examination of the record 
          in this case discloses that the tenant provided updated rental data 
          to the Rent Administrator which was not considered in calculating 
          the overcharge.

          Accordingly, the Commissioner has updated the adjusted lawful 
          stabilization rent and computed the overcharge through June 30, 
          1988, the last day of the month in which the Rent Administrator's 
          order was issued, as set forth on the amended Rent Calculation 
          Chart attached hereto and made a part hereof.

          Because this determination concerns lawful rents only through June 
          30, 1988, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rent to an 
          amount no greater than that determined by the Rent Administrator's 
          order plus any lawful increases, and to register any adjusted rents 
          with this order and opinion being given as the explanation for the 

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

          CG 110087 RO; CG 110090 RT

          ORDERED, that the owner's petition for administrative review be, 
          and the same hereby is, denied, that the tenant's petition be, and 
          the same hereby is granted in part and, that the order of the Rent 
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, affirmed as modified in 
          accordance with this order and opinion.  The amount of the rent 
          overcharge through June 30, 1988 is $30.40.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner


TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name