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.: EF 710162-RO
DRO DOCKET NO.: EB-7-1-0041-R
PETITIONER : TENANT: ANNE YORK
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On June 12, 1990 the above-named petitioner-landlord filed a petition for
Administrative Review against an order issued on May 8, 1990 by the
District Rent Administrator, 50 Clinton Street, Hempstead, New York
concerning the housing accommodations known as Apartment 2C at 269 Elmwood
Drive, Hempstead, New York wherein the District Rent Administrator
determined that the landlord had overcharged the tenant.
The issue in this appeal is whether the District Rent Administrator's
order was correct. The proceeding is governed by the Emergency Tenant
Protection Act of 1974 and the Tenant Protection Regulations.
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 originally commenced in February, 1990 by the filing
of a Tenant's Complaint of Rent Overcharge, in which the tenant stated
that she had moved into the subject apartment from another apartment in
the building on November 9, 1988 at a rent of $648.54 per month.
The owner was requested to submit leases from April 1, 1984. In answer,
the owner submitted the last page of a one-year lease from May 1, 1984, as
well as the Owner's Copy of the 1986 and 1987 apartment registrations,
neither of them bearing a building registration identification number.
In an order issued on May 8, 1990 the Administrator found that, while the
lease rent of $648.54 represented an allowable increase over previous
rents, the failure of the landlord to register the subject apartment
barred him from collecting any rent in excess of $513.27 until the
registrations for 1984 through 1990 were filed, and resulted in an
overcharge of $2,596.47 through May 31, 1990.
In this petition the landlord contends in substance that he signed the
registrations each year before giving them to a company, now out of
business; that was supposed to submit them; that it was at least proven
that he registered for 1985 and was entitled to an increase for that year;
and that he is submitting copies of other registrations. With his
petition the landlord has enclosed copies of the 1985 through 1990
DOCKET NUMBER: EF 710162-RO
The DHCR computerized registration system indicates that the landlord
filed the 1984 through 1990 registrations after the Administrator's order
and before the landlord filed his petition against the order.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be denied.
Sections 121 and 122 (Sections 9NYCRR 2509.1 and 2509.2) of the Tenant
Protection Regulations require annual registrations of regulated housing
accommodations, beginning in 1984. Section 123 (Section 9 NYCRR 2509.3)
provides a penalty for failure to register:
The failure to file a proper and timely initial or annual rent
registration statement as required by this part shall, until
such time as such registration statement is filed, bar an owner
from applying for or collecting any rent in excess of the legal
regulated rent in effect on the date of the last preceding
registration statement or, if no such statements have been
filed, the legal regulated rent in effect on the date that the
housing accommodation became subject to the registration
requirements of the Part. The filing of a late registration
shall result in the prospective elimination of such sanctions.
Because the tenant claimed not to have received the  registration,
because DHCR records did not indicate that the subject apartment had ever
been registered, and because the landlord did not submit any evidence that
the 1985 registration form which he filled out had ever been received by
or even mailed to the DHCR, the Administrator was warranted in not
allowing any rent increases through May 31, 1990.
A landlord is responsible for ensuring that apartments are registered, and
cannot escape liability for non-registration just because the submission
of paperwork was delegated to someone else. It appears that the landlord
never checked with the DHCR in 1984 or the next several years to make sure
that his registration obligation had in fact been satisfied.
As noted previously, the landlord registered the subject apartment for the
years 1984 through 1990 shortly after the Administrator's order was
issued, and would thus no longer be barred by Section 123 (Section 9 NYCRR
2509.3) from collecting the rent reserved in the lease. The Commissioner
notes that any rent increases now collectible by virtue of the filing of
the registrations are prospective only, since the reduced rents were the
lawful rents for the time prior to the filing of the registrations.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974
and the Tenant Protection Regulations, it is
DOCKET NUMBER: EF 710162-RO
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied and that
the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is,