DOCKET NO.: DK 410077 RO
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.: DK 410077 RO
ROSE SMITH D.R.O. DOCKET NO.:
AC 410033 R
TENANTS: RON AND NORA
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On November 9, 1989, the above-referenced petitioner filed,
as authorized representative of the owner Grenadier Realty Corp.,
a Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on
October 12, 1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the
housing accommodations known as apartment 6B2 at 50 West 34th
Street, New York, New York, in which order the Administrator had
made a finding of rental overcharge.
This proceeding was commenced on March 24, 1986, when the
above-referenced subtenants ("tenants" herein) filed a Complaint
of Rent Overcharge. On the form used for that complaint the
tenants supplied as "mailing address of property owners," first
the name and address of the prime tenant labelled as such, and
then that of the corporation managing the building ("owner"
herein). The complaint averred that the tenants had paid their
rent to the prime tenant.
The above-referenced Division served the complaint on the
prime tenant and sent requests for information to the owner. No
answer to the complaint was filed. In the ensuing order referred
to above, the Administrator determined that the lawful stabilized
rent was $600.21 as of August 31, 1986, that the tenants had been
overcharged $3282.18 and that that amount should be trebled in
determining the amount due to them.
DOCKET NO.: DK 410077 RO
The order first states that the rent was charged and
collected by the prime tenant. It then directs the "prime
tenant/owner" to refund the overcharge, and provides later that
the "owner" must pay treble damages and the "owner" make the
refund in question. The last line contains "cc to owner :
Grenadier Realty Corp...."
In appealing that order, the owner's representative
("owner" and "it" herein) asserts that the owner never collected
rent from the complainants but only from the prime tenant, and
that it was aware of no overcharge since it had collected only
the lawful stabilized amount.
In response, the tenants state : (1) "We request that the
Petition for Administrative Review .... be denied"; (2) "We could
not have sublet Apartment 6B2 without Grenadier Realty
Management's knowledge and approval and they are responsible for
managing the subletting process and allowing rent overcharges";
(3) "[W]e) made all rent payments directly to the prime tenant
..."; (4) "We request that the petition filed by the owner be
dismissed because it was [the prime tenant] who overcharged us
*** [and] that the 'Order Finding Rent Overcharge' be upheld
against [the prime tenant]."
After careful consideration of the record, the Commissioner
is of the opinion that the petition should be granted.
It is undisputed that no overcharge was collected by the
owner or anyone in its chain of title. There being no evidence
that the owner collected excessive rent indirectly, as by an
illusory prime tenancy, the result must be that the owner herein
owes no refund to the tenants. Indeed it is probable that the
Administrator did not intend any such refund to be imposed by his
order. Due to ambiguity in that regard, however, the
Commissioner will here make clear that no such liability is
imposed in this proceeding.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and
Code, it is
ORDERED, that the petition be and the same hereby is
granted, and it is,
FURTHER ORDERED, that the above-referenced Rent
Administrator's Order is hereby clarified as follows: The last
two references to "owner" on the first page thereof (one imposing
treble damages and the next pertaining to the timing of a
Petition for Administrative Review) are deemed to refer instead
to the prime tenant, who is alone responsible for the overcharge
herein. In all other respects the Administrator's order will
remain effective as written.
When the period for seeking judicial review of this order
has expired, the tenants may file and enforce a certified copy of
this order as a judgment in the amount of $9,846.54 against the
prime tenant Tricia Rojas.