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.DE410332RO
: DRO DOCKET NO.AD410425R
Moshe Samouha TENANT:Thomas T.Quinlavin
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On May 25, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner, timely re-filed
a Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on
April 4, 1989 by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street,
Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as
274 East Third Street, Apartment 7, New York, New York, wherein the
Administrator determined that the tenant had been overcharged.
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence of record and has
carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the
issue raised in the Administrative Appeal.
This proceeding was commenced on April 28, 1986 when the tenant
filed a complaint of rent overcharge.
In answer to the complaint, the owner asserted that all rent
increases were in keeping with rent guidelines and that the
apartment had been totally renovated at a cost of $3875.00 when
vacant in 1984. Subsequently, the owner submitted leases,
registration statements and some bills and cancelled checks.
In the order here under review, the Administrator, finding that the
owner had failed to substantiate alleged individual apartment
improvements, disallowed any rent increase based on such
improvements and determined that the tenant had been overcharged in
the amount of $20,945.34 inclusive of excess security and treble
In this appeal, the owner contends that a rent increase based on
apartment improvements substantiated by evidence which was
submitted to the Administrator should be permitted.
In response, the tenant contends that such an increase was
correctly disallowed because 1) there have been no improvements
which qualify for a rent increase, 2) any work that was done was
repair work and not improvements and 3) the owner has submitted
fraudulent documents (the owner has been inconsistent as to the
total amount spent) which do not support the claimed increase.
Although afforded the opportunity to do so, the owner did not reply
to the tenant's contentions although the owner did state that it
was entitled to an additional rent increase for the installation of
windows during the tenant's occupancy..
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that this petition should be denied.
Section 2522.4(a) of the Code provides in pertinent part that an
owner is entitled to a rent increase where there has been a
substantial increase of dwelling space or an increase in services,
or installation of new equipment or improvements provided in or to
the tenant's housing accommodation, on written tenant consent to
the rent increase. In the case of vacant housing accommodations,
tenant consent is not required.
Although an owner is permitted to increase the rent for individual
apartment improvements without the express approval of the DHCR,
the owner is required, when the rent is challenged by a tenant, to
submit proof, i.e. bills, invoices, signed contracts, cancelled
checks documenting the nature of the improvement, the date of
accomplishment and payment.
In the instant case, the owner has not established its entitlement
to a rent increase for apartment improvements. A review of the
documents reveals the following defects: the amounts billed do not
match the amount paid, some bills do not have headings showing the
supplier's name and address, some bills have altered or incomplete
dates. Two checks are made payable to Willie Font-allegedly the
super of the subject building-who endorsed and then returned them
to the owner who also endorsed them. Given the tenant's outright
denial of the alleged improvements, the owner's failure to comment
thereon and the defective documents submitted, the Commissioner
finds that the Administrator, based on the evidence submitted, did
not err in disallowing the rent increase. With respect to the
owner's request for an increase based on the installation of
four(4) windows, the Commissioner notes that the owner neglected to
submit as evidence the tenant's written consent to the
installation. Therefore, that increase may not be taken.
Correspondence from the owner indicates that pursuant to a so
ordered stipulation of settlement dated August 5, 1993 the
complainant has vacated the subject premises and withdrawn his
overcharge complaint. The agreement between the owner and the
complainant has no effect upon the determination of the lawful
stabilization rent found in Administrator's order. The lawful
stabilization rent is $476.53 as of October 1, 1988- September 30,
The owner is directed to reflect the findings and determinations
made in this order on all future registration statements, including
those for the current year if not already filed, citing this Order
as the basis for the change. Registration statements already on
file, however, should not be amended to reflect the findings and
determinations made in this order. The owner is further directed
to adjust subsequent rents to an amount no greater than that
determined by this order plus any lawful increase.
A copy of this order is being sent to the tenant currently in
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent
Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied and
the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, affirmed
as to the determination of the lawful stabilization rent.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA