STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE : ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO. CK 110173 RO
: DRO DOCKET NO. Q-3120025-R
TENANT: Henry Hirsch
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On November 7, 1988, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition
for Administrative Review against an order issued on October 6, 1988, by
the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, New York,
concerning the housing accommodations known as 68-22 136th Street,
Flushing, New York, Apartment No. B wherein the Rent Administrator
determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.
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
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 first moved to the
subject apartment on August 1, 1974 at a rental of $220 per month.
In answer to the tenant's complaint, the owner submitted a rental
history from August 1, 1974.
In Order Number CDR 34,103, 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 $1,622.62 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 it submitted all
the rent records it had and that in any event it acquired the subject
premises in September 1982 and should not be responsible for any
overcharges occurring prior to September 1982.
In answer to the owner's petition, the tenant stated in substance that
the Rent Administrator's order was warranted and that based on current
law, the owner herein is responsible for overcharges collected by prior
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
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
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, 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
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
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Appellate Division ruling in JRD, it
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
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
Acting Deputy Commissioner