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.: CL 510136-RT
Corina Santana NO.: ZCH 520139-OI
Premises: 560 W. 136rd St.
Apt. 56, NY, NY
ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PROCEEDINGS
The above-named tenant filed a timely petition for
administrative review of an order issued concerning the housing
accommodations described above.
The Commissioner has reviewed all the evidence in the record
and has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to
the issues raised by the petition.
The owner commenced these proceedings by filing an Application
for Rent Increase, in which Application the owner requested a $27
per month increase in the tenant's rent in consideration of the
purchase and installation of 9 new windows in the tenant's
apartments at a total cost to the owner of $1,422.00. The tenant
did not sign the Application, but did sign an "attached letter of
agreement" referred to by the owner in the Application.
The tenant was served with a copy of the Application (but not
with a copy of the letter of agreement), and was afforded an
opportunity to reply. The tenant answered by asserting that she
did not want new windows, but merely wanted repairs to the old
windows. She claimed that she was presented with a "paper" by
repairmen, and that she signed the "paper" (apparently the letter
of agreement mentioned above) only because she didn't understand
English, and she believed that she had to sign the paper in order
to get any repairs done. The fact that the tenant speaks only
Spanish was corroborated in a letter submitted soon after by an
attorney who was aiding the tenant.
The Administrator granted the $27.00 per month rent increase
requested by the owner.
Docket No.: CL 510136-RT
In her petition, the tenant reiterates her contention made
below that she did not give her voluntary consent to the rent
increase. The allegation of fraudulent inducement by the owner
which the tenant made obliquely below, she now makes explicitly by
stating on appeal "The landlord's agent told me that I was required
to sign the paper... otherwise no repairs would be made to my
windows." The owner answered the tenant's petition by submitting
an affidavit of Mr. Herman Gomez, allegedly the superintendent of
the premises in question, in which Mr. Gomez states that on or
about November 1, 1986 he accompanied the owner's principal (Mr.
Norman S. Weinstein) to the tenant's apartment and he assisted Mr.
Weinstein in explaining to the tenant, in Spanish, that she had the
option of signing or not signing a consent form to obtain new
windows, without prejudice to her right to have ordinary repairs
performed on her old windows without a corresponding rent increase.
The Administrator is of the opinion that these proceedings
should be remanded to the Administrator.
A review of the facts above reveals that the tenant did not
sign the Application but signed another form indicating her consent
to the replacement of the windows and the corresponding rent
increase. The tenant responded below that she did not give her
voluntary consent to the window replacement because she believed
that the consent form she signed was a necessary prerequisite to
repairs of the old windows. She blamed this misunderstanding on
her lack of fluency in English, this disability being confirmed by
a letter from an attorney.
Despite the above-stated occurences, the Administrator did not
seek to gain additional information from either the owner or the
tenant regarding the voluntariness of tenant's consent to the
window replacement. The Commissioner feels that the Administrator
was in error in not making further inquiries to clarify this
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent and Eviction
Regulations, it is
ORDERED, that these proceedings be, and the same hereby are,
remanded to the Administrator for further consideration. On
remand, the Administrator is hereby directed to hold a hearing to
determine the circumstances of how the tenant's "consent" to the
rent increase in consideration of the purchase and installation by
the owner of new windows in the tenant's apartment was obtained by
Joseph A. D'Agosta
Acting Deputy Commissioner