Docket No. DK420019RT







                                 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. DK420019RT  

                                                  DISTRICT RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
          Caren Sherman,                          NO. CH420651R 
           
                                   PETITIONER
          ------------------------------------X




          ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PROCEEDING TO THE RENT ADMINISTRATOR




              On November 9, 1989, the above-named tenant filed a petition 
          for administrative review of an order issued on October 6, 1989 by 
          a District Rent Administrator concerning the housing accommodation 
          known as the basement apartment, 126 East 19th Street, New York, 
          New York.

              This proceeding was commenced by the subject tenant filing an 
          overcharge complaint, dated August 22, 1988.  The complaint 
          alleged, among other things, that the subject tenant has resided in 
          the subject apartment since 1968, and that the subject apartment's 
          registration form should be corrected.

              On September 27, 1988 the rent agency mailed to the subject 
          landlord a copy of the subject tenant's complaint and a notice 
          affording the subject landlord twenty days from the above-mentioned 
          date to file an answer.

              The subject landlord's response, dated October 11, 1988, 
          alleged that the subject building has two residential units, and   












          Docket No. DK420019RT

          that it is not subject to rent regulations.  The landlord also 
          alleged that the subject tenant's complaint should be dismissed as 
          the tenant did not timely object to the subject apartment's 
          registration statement.

              To the response the subject landlord attached a copy of the 
          subject apartment's 1984 registration statement, which states that 
          the subject apartment is exempt from rent regulations due to 
          commercial use.

              On March 27, 1989 the rent agency mailed to the subject 
          landlord a notice requesting copies of the subject apartment's 
          leases from April 1, 1984 to the present.

              On April 20, 1989 the subject landlord filed a response which 
          asserted that there were no written leases for the subject premises 
          as all of the aforementioned leases were entered into by an oral 
          agreement.

              In the order under review herein, the Administrator stated 
          that:

                    The subject apartment was registered as exempt 
                    on April 1, 1984 for commercial/professional 
                    purposes.  Accordingly, pursuant to Section 
                    2520.11(n) the subject apartment is not under 
                    the authority of the Rent Stabilization Code.  
                    As such, this Agency lacks jurisdiction over 
                    this matter.

              The subject tenant's petition asserts that she has resided in 
          the subject apartment since 1968; that she has not used the subject 
          apartment for any commercial purposes, and that the subject 
          apartment is subject to rent control.

              The subject landlord's answer, dated February 12, 1990, 
          asserts, among other things, that the subject tenant had filed an 
          earlier overcharge complaint under Docket No. CC410303R, which 
          stated that she initially occupied the subject apartment in June, 
          1972; that the above-mentioned overcharge complaint was withdrawn 
          by the subject tenant on April 26, 1988; that, as the subject 
          landlord asserts, the subject apartment was registered as exempt 
          due to commercial use, and therefore is not subject to rent 
          regulations; that the subject tenant "is estopped at this late date 
          from challenging the registration"; that as the subject tenant's 
          earlier overcharge complaint stated that she initially occupied the 
          subject apartment in June, 1972, the subject landlord asserts that 
          the complainant can not be subject to rent control; that the 
          subject tenant did not dispute the landlord's assertion in the 
          proceeding before the Administrator that the subject building only 
          has two residential units, and that therefore the subject building 
          is not subject to rent stabilization.






          Docket No. DK420019RT


              The subject tenant submitted an affidavit, sworn to on March 7, 
          1990, which alleges, among other things, that the subject tenant 
          first occupied the subject apartment in 1968; that for several 
          months prior to June, 1972 the subject tenant and her husband 
          separated; that the subject tenant asserts that she did not live in 
          the subject apartment during that time period; that the subject 
          tenant returned to the subject apartment in June, 1972; that during 
          the subject tenant's absence from the subject apartment she 
          continued to pay all utility bills and rent for the subject 
          apartment, and that there are presently four residential units in 
          the subject building.

              After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion 
          that this proceeding should be remanded to the Rent Administrator 
          for further processing.

              The Commissioner is of the opinion that the subject landlord 
          has the burden of proof in showing that the subject apartment has 
          been used for a commercial purpose.

              As the Administrator did not request evidence from the subject 
          landlord which would substantiate the landlord's allegation of 
          commercial use, the Commissioner is of the opinion that this 
          proceeding should be remanded to the Administrator for a 
          determination of the issue of the subject apartment being used for 
          a commercial purpose.

              The Commissioner is of the opinion that if the Administrator 
          should determine that the subject apartment has been used for a 
          commercial purpose, then the Administrator should determine that 
          the subject apartment is exempt from rent regulations.

              The Commissioner is also of the opinion that if the 
          Administrator should determine that the subject apartment has not 
          been used for a commercial purpose, then the Administrator should 
          determine the rental status of the subject apartment.

              Furthermore, the Commissioner is of the opinion that in 
          determining the rental status of the subject apartment, if 
          applicable, the Administrator should determine the date of the 
          subject tenant's first occupancy of the subject apartment.

              If the Administrator should determine that the subject tenant 
          first occupied the subject apartment in June, 1972, then the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the Administrator should 
          determine the number of housing accommodations in the subject 
          building.
              Pursuant to Section 2520.11(d) of the Rent Stabilization Code, 
          the Commissioner is of the opinion, if applicable, that in 
          determining the number of housing accommodations in the subject 
          building the Administrator should determine the number of housing 












          Docket No. DK420019RT

          accommodations in existence on the date the subject building first 
          became subject to the Rent Stabilization Law (RSL).

              The Commissioner is of the opinion that if the Administrator 
          should determine that the subject apartment has not been used for 
          a commercial purpose; that the subject tenant first occupied the 
          subject apartment in June, 1972, and that the subject building 
          contained six or more housing accommodations on the date the 
          building first became subject to the RSL, then the Administrator 
          should determine that the subject apartment is rent stabilized.

              If the Administrator should determine that the subject 
          apartment is rent stabilized, then the Commissioner is of the 
          opinion that the Administrator should determine the subject 
          apartment's legal regulated rent, pursuant to Section 2522.6 of the 
          Rent Stabilization Code, and order the subject owner to refund to 
          the subject tenant any amount collected in excess  of the legal 
          regulated rent, pursuant to Section 2526.1 of the Rent 
          Stabilization Code.

              If the Administrator determines that the subject apartment has 
          not been used for a commercial purpose, and that the subject tenant 
          first occupied the subject apartment since 1968, then the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the Administrator should 
          determine whether the subject apartment is subject to rent control.

              If the Administrator should determine that the subject 
          apartment is rent controlled, then the Commissioner is of the 
          opinion that the Administrator should commence an Administrative  
          Determination, pursuant to Section 2202.22 of the City Rent and 
          Eviction Regulations, to determine the subject apartment's maximum 
          rent.

              As to the subject landlord's allegation that the subject tenant 
          is estopped from objecting to the initial apartment registration 
          statement at this time, the Commissioner notes that the ninety day 
          requirement in objecting to the initial apartment registration 
          statement applies only to the initial rent-stabilized tenant to the 
          apartment on or after April 1, 1984.  As the subject tenant does 
          not fall within the above-mentioned category, the Commissioner 
          finds that the applicable regulations pertaining to objections to 
          rent registration statements do not apply to the subject tenant.

              Accordingly, for all of the aforementioned reasons, the 
          Commissioner finds that this proceeding should be remanded to the 
          Rent Administrator. 
              THEREFORE, in accordance with the City Rent and Rehabilitation 
          Law, and the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is

              ORDERED, that this proceeding be, and the same hereby  is, 
          remanded to the Rent Administrator to determine the rental status 
          of the subject apartment, and if applicable to establish the 






          Docket No. DK420019RT

          subject apartment's legal rent.  The Administrator's order under 
          review herein is stayed, pursuant to Section 2208.11 of the City 
          Rent and Eviction Regulations, until a new order is issued on 
          remand.

          ISSUED:



                                                                            
                                             Joseph A. D'Agosta
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner






    

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