CL110213RO
                             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. CL110213RO

                                          :  DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
           Seminole Realty Co.,              DOCKET NO. Q3122034R
                                            
                                             TENANT: Joel Schwartz            
             
                            PETITIONER    : 
      ------------------------------------X                             

          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


      On December 20, 1988, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition 
      for Administrative Review against an order issued on November 16, 1988, 
      by the Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus Circle, New York, New York, 
      concerning the housing accommodations known as 111-50 76th Road, Forest 
      Hills, New York, Apartment No. 3B, 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 
      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 commenced by the filing on March 31, 1984 of a rent 
      overcharge complaint by the tenant.  The tenant had taken occupancy of 
      the subject apartment on November 1, 1979.

      In answer to the tenant's complaint, the owner stated in substance that 
      the tenant had vacated the subject apartment and requested that the 
      complaint be dismissed.   The owner submitted no rental history.

      In Order Number 34,190, 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 $5,136.35 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 the original 
      complaint was dated after April 1, 1984 and therefore the base date for 
      the Administrator's examination of overcharges should have been April 1, 
      1980.  The owner states that since the records contains a full rental 
      history, it should not have been defaulted and no overcharge occurred.

      The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be granted.








          CL110213RO

      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 overcharges.

      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 


          CL110213RO

      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.

      The Commissioner notes that the owner's claim that this complaint was 
      filed after April 1, 1984 need not be considered.  Because of JRD the 
      base date is April 1, 1980 in either event.

      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 in part, and, that the order of the Rent 
      Administrator be, and the same hereby is, revoked, and it is found that 
      no rent overcharge occurred.


      ISSUED:



                                                                    
                                      JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                      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