DL 110347 RO
                                  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



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          IN THE MATTER OF  THE  ADMINISTRATIVE      ADMINISTRATIVE  REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: DL 110347 RO

               SEMINOLE REALTY COMPANY,
                                                  DRO DOCKET NO.: ZQ 3118805 R/T
                                                  TENANTS:  VICKI BLANDIN,
                                                            MICHAEL BIANUCCI
                                  PETITIONER
          ----------------------------------X                                   


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


          On January 2, 1990, the above-named petitioner filed  a  Petition
          for Administrative Review against an order issued on November 30, 
          1989 by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, 
          New York concerning the housing  accommodations  known  as  77-54
          Austin Street, Apartment 3J, Forest Hills, New York  wherein  the
          Administrator adjusted  the  initial  legal  regulated  rent  and
          directed the owner to refund excess rent of $12,332.94.

          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.

          On March 31, 1984, the tenants commenced this proceeding with the 
          filing of a Fair Market  Rent  Adjustment  application  with  the
          former New York City Conciliation and Appeals Board.  The tenants 
          stated  they  were  entitled  to  challenge  the  Initial   Legal
          Regulated Rent because  the  prior  tenant,  who  was  the  first
          stabilized tenant had not been given an opportunity to  challenge
          the initial rent.

          On December 17, 1984, the  former  owner  (Hill  Management)  was
          informed of the  tenants'  application  challenging  the  initial
          legal regulated rent and was requested to submit a copy of a DC-1 
          or DC-2 notice or the  apartment  registration  form  within  ten
          days.  The owner was informed that failure to comply would result 
          in  the  continuation  of   the   processing   of   the   tenants
          application.

          The owner did not respond.

          On August 19, 1985, the Division sent the owner  a  copy  of  the
          tenant's Fair Market Rent Application along with a  notice  (Form
          RTP-22) requesting submission of the  DC-1  or  DC-2  notice  and
          complete leases for the subject apartment from its base date  and
          notifying the owner of  the  methods  used  in  determining  fair
          market rents.






          DL 110347 RO

          The owner did not respond.

          On May 25, 1986, the  tenants  informed  the  Division  that  the
          ownership of the subject building had changed effective April  1,
          1984.

          On December 8, 1988, a copy of the tenant's application and forms 
          RTP-22 and RTP-23 were sent to the current owner.  Included  with
          these forms were worksheets to be completed by the owner for  use
          in the calculation of the fair market rent.

          The owner did not respond.

          On November 30, 1989, the Administrator  issued  the  order  here
          under review, establishing the initial legal rent  and  directing
          the owner to refund $12,332.94 inclusive of excess security.

          In  the  petition,  the  current  owner  seeks  to  reverse   the
          Administrator's order.  The owner contends that the tenants  were
          not entitled to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal because they  were
          not the first stabilized tenants.  In support thereof, the  owner
          submits a set of leases from March 1, 1975 through March 31, 1982 
          signed by the prior tenant.

          For its second argument, the  owner  contends  that  contrary  to
          established Division of  Housing  and  Community  Renewal  (DHCR)
          procedure, it was never sent a Notice of  Pending  Default  or  a
          "Summary Letter" and thus was unable to determine that comparable 
          rents were necessary to substantiate the rental charged.

          The owner further contends that the prior owner had entered  into
          an agreement with the tenants whereby the rent  for  the  subject
          apartment was established and the tenant agreed not to  file  any
          complaints.

          The tenants did not reply to the petition although  afforded  the
          opportunity to do so.


          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition  should  be
          denied.

          The subject apartment was formerly subject to the City Rent  Law,
          becoming subject to the Rent Stabilization Law  by  virtue  of  a
          vacancy occurring on or after June 30, 1974.

          Section  26-513  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Law  provides   in
          pertinent part that the tenant of a  housing  accommodation  that
          was regulated pursuant to the city rent  and  rehabilitation  law
          prior to July 1, 1971 and that became vacant on or after  January
          1, 1974 may file an application for  adjustment  of  the  initial
          legal regulated  rent  for  such  housing  accommodation.   Where
          vacancy decontrol occurred after June 30, 1974,  only  the  first
          stabilized tenant has the option of filing for an  adjustment  of
          the initial legal regulated rent (a fair market rent  adjustment)
          if such tenant was properly notified  of  this  right.   If  such
          tenant moved before receiving notification, a  subsequent  tenant
          may apply for the adjustment.






          DL 110347 RO

          Although the owner alleges that the prior tenant  was  the  first
          stabilized  tenant  and  that  such  fact  should  preclude   the
          complainants  from  filing  a  fair  market  rent   appeal,   the
          Commissioner notes that the  owner  has  submitted  no  proof  of
          having served, as was required, a DC-2 notice either to the prior 
          tenant or to the current tenants.  Accordingly, the  Commissioner
          finds  that  the  Administrator  correctly  determined  that  the
          current tenants were entitled to file a Fair Market Rent Appeal.

          Review of the evidence of record in the  instant  case  indicates
          that the tenants' complaint along  with  answer  forms  and  rent
          forms to fill out providing the owner with the option  to  submit
          either June 30,  1974  free  market  rents  or  rental  data  for
          apartments recently rented on the  post-ETPA  "Free  Market"  was
          sent to the owner.  The owner  has  not  denied  receiving  these
          notifications.  Although fully apprised of the procedures  to  be
          followed and of which documents were required  to  be  submitted,
          the owner did not respond and  has  offered  in  this  appeal  no
          reasonable excuse or justification for its  failure  to  respond.
          Accordingly, the  Commissioner  finds  that  the  owner  received
          adequate notice of the proceeding below and had ample opportunity 
          to answer.

          With respect to the agreement between the tenants and the  former
          owner, the Commissioner notes that Code Section 2520.13  provides
          in pertinent part that an agreement by  a  tenant  to  waive  the
          benefit of any provision of the Rent Stabilization Law or Code is 
          void.  Therefore, the Commissioner finds that the afore-mentioned 
          agreement  between  the  former  owner  and  the  tenants   which
          established the apartment rent is a nullity.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with  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.




          ISSUED:
                                                  ------------------------
                                                  ELLIOT SANDER
                                                  Deputy Commissioner
           
             
                                          
    

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