DOCKET NOS.:  DB420164RT, etal
                              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 :   
     APPEAL OF                              ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW  
                                         :  DOCKET NOS. DB420164RT  DB420173RT
                                                        DB420165RT  DB420174RT
           VARIOUS TENANTS,              :              DB420166RT  DB420175RT
                                                        DB420167RT  DC420117RT
                        PETITIONERS      :              DB420168RT  DC420178RT
     ------------------------------------X              DB420169RT  DC420179RT
                                                        DB420170RT  DC420180RT
                                                        DB420171RT  DC420181RT
                                                        DB420172RT  DC420182RT

                                            DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
                                            DOCKET NOS. CE420445R   CE420443R
                                                        CE420449R   CE420444R
                                                        CE420447R   CE420446R
                                                        CE420450R   CE420428R
                                                        CE420451R   CE420429R
                                                        CE420452R   CE420430R
                                                        CE420440R   CE420431R
                                                        CE420441R   CE420432R
                                                        CE420442R   CE420433R, 
                                                                 respectively.

                                          
        ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING TWELVE PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
         IN PART AND GRANTING SIX OTHER PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

     These petitions have been consolidated as they involve common issues of law 
     and fact.  The petitioner-tenants filed timely Petitions for Administrative 
     Review against orders issued in January and February 1989, by the Rent 
     Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, New York, concerning housing 
     accommodations known as various Apartments, 1567, 1571, and 1575 Lexington 
     Avenue, New York, New York, wherein the Rent Administrator  determined the 
     Maximum Collectible Rent for the subject apartments from January 1, 1983 to 
     the date of the Administrator's orders.  The orders further noted that the 
     rent determined therein did not include the 1988 Maximum Base Rent increases, 
     if any, for which the owner may have applied and may have been eligible.  In 
     addition, the order listed the Fuel Cost Adjustments from 1980 through 1985.  
     the orders noted that the 1985 Fuel Cost Adjustment had been suspended but 
     that a cumulative adjustment of $3.45 per room was reinstated as of January 
     1, 1986.

     The issues in these appeals are whether the Administrator erred by not 
     determining the Fuel Cost Adjustments for the years 1986, 1987 and 1988 and 
     by not awarding overcharge refunds to the tenants.

     The applicable sections of the Rent and Eviction Regulations are Sections 








          DOCKET NOS.:  DB420164RT, etal

     2201, 2202.13, 2205.1(a), and 2206.8.

     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 appeal.

     The tenants commenced these proceedings by filing overcharge complaints 
     alleging that the owner had charged Fuel Cost Adjustments for the years 1986, 
     1987, and 1988 even though the owner was ineligible to make such charges due 
     to the failure of the owner to file the required notices.

     In answer to each complaint, the owner stated that fuel charges had been 
     waived by the owner since 1985.

     In these petitions the tenants contend that the Rent Administrator's Orders 
     are incorrect and should be modified because the Administrator failed to 
     determine the Fuel Cost Adjustments for the years 1986, 1987 and 1988, 
     although specifically requested to do so in the tenants' complaints.  In 
     addition, the tenants of 1571 and 1575 Lexington Avenue contend they should 
     have received overcharge awards from the Administrator.  The otherwise 
     identical petitions for the tenants of 1567 Lexington Avenue do not raise 
     this issue.

     The owner failed to answer these petitions, although given the opportunity to 
     do so,

     The Commissioner is of the opinion that these petitions should be granted.

     At the outset the Commissioner notes that under Section 2206.8 of the 
     Regulations, a tenant can only enforce the prohibition against overcharging 
     under Rent Control by bringing an action against the owner in a court of 
     competent jurisdiction.  The DHCR has no jurisdiction to make actual 
     overcharge awards under Rent Control (unlike Rent Stabilization, under which 
     the DHCR can order a refund and such order can be enforced as a judgment).  
     Therefore, the Administrator was correct not to make such an award in the 
     orders under appeal.  All the Administrator can do is to specify the correct 
     rents and Fuel Cost Adjustments so that the parties will be able to determine 
     the existence and amount of any overcharge.

     If the owner fails to make a refund of any overcharge, a tenant must proceed 
     against the owner in a court of competent jurisdiction.  Accordingly, the 
     petitions regarding 1571 and 1575 Lexington Avenue (captioned docket numbers 
     ending in 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 117, 178, 179, 180, 181 and 182) are 
     hereby denied to the extent that they contend the Administrator should have 
     either ordered an refund or computed the actual overcharges (if any).

     Regarding the Fuel Cost Adjustments for 1986-1988, the petitioners are 
     clearly correct that these were specifically put at issue in each complaint 
     and should have been confronted in the Administrator's orders.

     DHCR records show that all three building use #6 fuel oil and that for the 
     year 1985 the Fuel Cost Adjustment (FCA) was suspended for each of the three 
     buildings based on the owner's failure to file a timely report of fuel cost 
     decrease as required by Section 2202.13e.  Each of the Suspension orders 
     stated that as of January 1, 1986 the cumulative FCA of $3.45 would be 
     reinstated.  However, DHCR records show that for the years 1986, 1987, 1989, 
     and 1992 the FCA was suspended for each of the three buildings and that the 



          DOCKET NOS.:  DB420164RT, etal

     owner failed to submit any reports from 1984 to 1992.  Accordingly, the owner 
     has not been eligible to collect any FCA from January 1, 1985 and at least 
     through 1992.  Any such collection would constitute an overcharge which, if 
     not refunded, can be enforced by the tenants by proceeding against the owner 
     in a court of competent jurisdiction.

     THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is 

     ORDERED, that the twelve petition regarding 1571 and 1575 Lexington Avenue 
     (being the first six and last six in numerical order of the above-captioned 
     petitions) be, and the same hereby are, granted in part, and the six 
     petitions regarding 1567 Lexington Avenue (being the middle six of the above- 
     captioned petitions) be, and the same hereby are, granted, and the Rent 
     Administrator's orders be, and the same hereby are, modified in accordance 
     with this Order and Opinion.

     ISSUED:



                                                                               
                                                    JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                    Deputy Commissioner





    

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