DE310188RO






                                  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.DE310188RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.AF310318
          LUTHER HARMAN                     

                                PETITIONER    :  Subtenant:Christopher Wolfe
          ------------------------------------X                             
             ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


               On May 25, 1989, the above-named petitioner-prime tenant filed 
          a Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on 
          April 25, 1989, by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, 
          Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 
          301 West 45th Street,  New York, Apartment No. 4C wherein the 
          Administrator determined that the prime tenant had overcharged the 
          subtenant and directed the prime tenant to refund $3,218.06 to the 
          subtenant.

               The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of Section 2525.6 of the Rent Stabilization Code.

               The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator's order was 
          warranted.

               The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record 
          and has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to 
          the issue raised by the administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was commenced when the subtenant filed a 
          complaint of rent overcharge, alleging that the prime tenant had 
          demanded rent in excess of the legal rent.  The subtenant stated 
          that he had taken occupancy of the subject apartment on May 24, 1985 
          and had resided therein through August 1985.

               In answer to the complaint, the prime tenant stated that the 
          subtenant had been informed prior to rental of the premises that a 
          premium was being charged to cover telephone and cable TV usage as 
          well as the cost of repairing any damage to the prime tenant's 
          furnishings and that the complainant had agreed to the additional 
          charge.  Upon the termination of the subtenancy, various amounts 
          were spent to repair a damaged piece and to clean the apartment.  
          These amounts had been subtracted from the total overage collected 
          and the difference had been returned to and accepted by the 
          subtenant.








          DE310188RO

               In the order here under review, the Administrator determined 
          that the legal rent chargeable to the subtenant was $523.96 (base 
          rent - $476.33 + 10% allowance for furnishings) and found a total 
          overcharge of $3,218.06, inclusive of treble damages and a credit of  
          $396.22, previously returned to the subtenant by the prime tenant.

               In his appeal, the prime tenant requests that the order be 
          reversed  and bases his appeal on the cost of repairing damages 
          inflicted by the subtenant  on the prime tenant's furnishings.   
          When the subtenant vacated, the prime tenant incurred costs to 
          repair a piece of furniture and to clean the apartment.  After 
          subtracting these costs from the total excess collected, the 
          remainder, $396.22, was returned to the subtenantby a check which 
          stated that it was payment in full for all claims against the prime 
          tenant.  Accordingly, the subtenant acceptedthe statement when he 
          endorsed and cashed the check and therefore the overcharge complaint 
          must be dismissed.  

               Although afforded the opportunity to do so, the subtenant did 
          not reply to the petition on the merits.
           
               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be 
          denied.

               Section 2525.6 provides in pertinent part that the rental 
          charged to the subtenant by the tenant shall not exceed the legal 
          regulated rent plus no more than a ten percent surcharge payable to 
          the tenant if the housing accommodation is sublet fully furnished.  
          Where a tenant violates these provisions, the subtenant shall be 
          entitled to treble damages.

               In the instant case, the Administrator correctly found that the 
          legal rent chargeable to the subtenant was $523.96 (base rent of 
          $476.33 + 10%, $47.63).  With regard to any claimed damages, the 
          prime tenant may seek recovery for these costs in a court of 
          competent jurisdiction.     

                    With respect to the tenant's cashing the refund check, it 
          is noted that pursuant to Code Section 2520.13, an agreement by a 
          tenant to waive any benefit of the Rent Stabilization Law or Code is 
          void;  provided, however, that based upon a negotiated settlement 
          between the parties and with the approval of the DHCR, or a court of 
          competent jurisdiction where a tenant is represented by counsel, a 
          tenant may withdraw any complaint pending before the DHCR.  
          Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the prime tenant had no 
          basis pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Code to charge more tnan 
          the base rent plus 10%.

               The Commissioner has determined in this Order and Opinion that 
          the owner collected overcharges of $3,218.06.  This Order may, upon 
          expiration of the period for seeking review of this Order and 
          Opinion pursuant to Article Seventy-eight of the Civil Practice Law 
          and Rules, be filed and enforced as a judgment.  Where the subtenant 
          files this Order as a judgment, the County Clerk may add to the 
          overcharge, interest at the rate payable on a judgment pursuant to 
          section 5004 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules from the issuance 
          date of the Rent Administrator's Order to the issuance date of the 
          Commissioner's Order.


          DE310188RO


               THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and Code, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and 
          the same hereby is, denied,  and, that the order of the Rent 
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, affirmed. 

          ISSUED



                                                                        
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Deputy Commissioner




                     



































    

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