Docket Number: EI-210062-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

        ------------------------------------X 
        IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  S.J.R. NO. 5617
        APPEAL OF                           :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                            :   DOCKET  NO.:  EI   210062-RO
              JOHN GUARRERA,                :  
                                            :  DRO DOCKET NOS.: 
                              PETITIONER    :  K-3105228-R As Amended
        ------------------------------------X  AL-210228-RT

                                               TENANTS: ANNE PASMANICK 
                                                  and       L.      ANDERSON
                          
           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

        On September 6, 1990,  the  above  named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
        Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on August 
        3, 1990, by  the  District  Rent  Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall
        Street, Jamaica, New York,  concerning  the  housing  accommodations
        known as Apartment 4-R, 179  Seventh  Avenue,  Brooklyn,  New  York,
        wherein the District Rent Administrator determined  that  the  owner
        had overcharged the tenant.  

        Subsequent thereto, the owner filed a petition in the  Kings  County
        Supreme Court pursuant to Article 78 of Civil Practice Law and Rules 
        seeking an annulment of the "deemed denial" of his petition.

        The  issue  in  this   appeal   is   whether   the   District   Rent
        Administrator's order was warranted.

        The applicable section of the law is  Section  2522.4  of  the  Rent
        Stabilization Code.

        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.

        This proceeding was commenced on January 16, 1984  by  the  tenants'
        filing of a  rent  overcharge  complaint  with  the  New  York  City
        Conciliation and Appeals Board (CAB), the  agency  formerly  charged
        with enforcing the  Rent  Stabilization  Law,  wherein  the  tenants
        alleged that the prior tenant paid a monthly  rent  which  was  less
        than the lease amount.

        In his answer to the complaint, the  owner  contended  in  substance
        that the base rent date for the  subject  apartment  was  August  1,
        1980, and that improvements were made to the subject apartment prior 
        to the complaining tenants' occupancy.  In support of these 
        contentions, the owner submitted leases covering the period from 
        August 1, 1980 through December 31, 1984, and an Owner's Application 
        dated March  27,  1984  requesting  a  rent  adjustment  based  upon
        improvements/new equipment.  The owner  submitted  several  invoices
        and cancelled checks in support of his application.







          Docket Number: EI-210062-RO
        On July 8, 1986,  the  owner  was  sent  a  final  notice  demanding
        documentation to substantiate the claimed base rent date  of  August
        1, 1980.  In response, the owner submitted  a  copy  of  a  document
        stating that the subject apartment was vacant from June 1980 to July 
        13, 1980, and that the prior tenant was the  first  rent  stabilized
        tenant who rented the subject premises on July 14, 1980 at a monthly 
        rental of $400.00.

        In Order Number CDR 26, 221 issued November 14, 1986,  the  District
        Rent Administrator accepted the  rental  history  submitted  by  the
        owner and determined that the tenant had not been overcharged.

        In her petition under Administrative Review Docket Number 
        AL-210228-RT, the tenant contended in substance  that  the  District
        Rent Administrator's order was  incorrect  and  should  be  reversed
        because the prior tenant only paid a monthly rent of $275.00 despite 
        the rent amount listed in the lease, the adoption  of  a  base  rent
        date of August 1,  1980  was  arbitrary,  the  granting  of  a  rent
        increase for the installation of new equipment  was  unwarranted  as
        the  owner's  application  for  a  rent  increase   based   on   new
        improvements (Docket Number K-000039-OI) was denied, and  she  never
        consented to the improvements.

        In response,  the  owner  contended  in  substance  that  the  prior
        tenant's lease ran from August 1, 1980 through January 31, 1982 at a 
        monthly rental of $400.00 which the  prior  tenant  paid  partly  by
        check and partly by cash, that the prior tenant moved out after  one
        year, that the owner  installed  new  equipment  while  the  subject
        apartment was vacant, that he submitted the necessary  documentation
        to prove that the tenant had not been overcharged, and that  he  had
        requested a rent adjustment under Docket Number K-000039-OI  because
        he had made a mistake in calculating the complaining tenant's  rent,
        but still hadn't received a decision.

        In Administrative Review Docket Number AL-210228-RT issued March 29, 
        1990, the Commissioner remanded the proceeding to the District  Rent
        Administrator to determine the proper base rent date of the  subject
        apartment, the actual monthly rent paid by the prior tenant, and the 
        rent increase authorized pursuant to  Section  2522.4  of  the  Rent
        Stabilization Code for the installation of new  equipment  installed
        in the subject apartment prior to the occupancy  of the  complaining
        tenant.

        On June 6, 1990, the owner responded by contending in substance that 
        the complaining tenants' initial lease commenced in January of  1983
        and  terminated in December of 1984, that  the  owner  made  several
        improvements to the subject apartment while the subject apartment 
        was vacant and prior to the occupancy of  the  complaining  tenants,
        that these improvements included removing and replacing a  new  wall
        in  the  bedroom,  new  bathroom  and  bedroom  doors,  new  kitchen
        cabinets, new outlets, rewiring, new bathroom shower,  repiping  for
        the kitchen sink, and a new kitchen sink and faucets at a total cost 
        of $3,117.04, that the owner was entitled  to  a  rent  increase  of
        1/40th of the cost of these improvements ($77.93),  that  the  prior
        tenant paid a total monthly rent of $400.00- $275.00  by  check  and
        $125.00 in cash, that the  owner's  due  process  rights  require  a
        hearing on the issue of the amount of rent paid by the prior tenant, 
        that the prior tenant was the first rent stabilized  tenant  of  the
        subject apartment after decontrol, and that  the  prior  tenant  was






          Docket Number: EI-210062-RO
        served with a DC-2 Notice but failed to file an appeal.  In  support
        of these contentions, the owner submitted copies  of  cash  receipts
        from August 1980 through  December  1981,  each  in  the  amount  of
        $125.00 and each one indicating "balance of the rent," rent  ledgers
        for 1980 and 1981, and a DC-2 Notice  dated  August  28,  1980  with
        proof  of  service.   Unfortunately,  the  owner's  submission   was
        received by DHCR, but was never delivered to or  considered  by  the
        Administrator.  The  tenants  did  not  respond  to  the  Notice  of
        Reopening.

        In Order Number CDR 26, 221 as amended and issued  August  3,  1990,
        the District  Rent  Administrator  revoked  its  previous  order  of
        November 14, 1986, and determined that the base rent  date  for  the
        subject apartment was August 1, 1980, that the prior tenant  paid  a
        monthly rent of  $275.00  due  to  the  owner's  failure  to  submit
        evidence to substantiate his allegation that the prior tenant paid a 
        monthly rent of $400.00, that the owner was not entitled to  a  rent
        increase for improvements made to the subject apartment because  the
        improvements  were  made  after  the  commencement   date   of   the
        complaining tenants' initial lease and there was  no  evidence  that
        the tenants consented to a rent increase, and that the  tenants  had
        been overcharged since January 1, 1982.  The Administrator  directed
        the owner to refund to the tenants $15,642.39 which included  excess
        security and treble  damages  on  that  portion  of  the  overcharge
        occurring on or after April 1, 1984.

        In this petition, the owner contends in substance that the  District
        Rent Administrator's order  is  incorrect  and  should  be  reversed
        because the Administrator ignored the evidence he submitted on  June
        8, 1990 which proved  that  the  prior  tenant's  monthly  rent  was
        $400.00, and that the owner was entitled to a rent increase  for the 
        improvements made to the subject apartment while it was  vacant  and
        before the complaining tenants moved in.

        The tenants did not submit a response to the owner's petition.

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

        Concerning the issue of the amount of rent paid by the prior tenant, 
        the Commissioner notes that $400.00 was the monthly rental amount 
        stated in the prior tenant's lease and in the DC-2 Notice which  was
        served  on  the  prior  tenant.   Furthermore,  the  owner  provided
        cancelled rent checks and cash  receipts  which  indicate  that  the
        prior tenant paid a monthly rent of $400.00, $275.00  by  check  and
        $125.00 in cash.  Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the owner 
        has proven by  a  preponderance  of  the  evidence  that  the  prior
        tenant's monthly rent was $400.00.  

        An examination of the  rental  history  for  the  subject  apartment
        reveals that the complaining tenants'  initial  lease  commenced  on
        January 1, 1983 rather  than  January  1,  1982  as  stated  by  the
        Administrator.  Thus, the Commissioner finds that the  Administrator
        erred in denying the owner a rent increase for improvements made  to
        the subject apartment based on the fact that the  improvements  were
        made during the term of the complaining tenants' lease, but  without
        the tenants' consent.

        The evidence of  record  discloses  that  the  owner  installed  new






          Docket Number: EI-210062-RO
        equipment (bathroom and bedroom doors, repiping  for  kitchen  sink,
        kitchen sink, shower, cabinets, rewiring with outlets) at a cost  of
        $2,115.20 when the subject apartment was vacant  and  prior  to  the
        occupancy of the complaining tenants.  Thus, the owner was  entitled
        to increase the complaining tenants' initial rent by $52.88  (1/40th
        of  the  total  cost  for  the  new  equipment).   Accordingly,  the
        Commissioner finds that the Administrator erred in not including the 
        above-mentioned sum in the complaining tenants' initial  rent.   The
        Commissioner  notes  that  painting,  plastering,  priming  and  the
        sanding and refinishing of floors are considered normal  maintenance
        for which the owner is not entitled to a rent increase.

        Based on the foregoing, the Commissioner has recalculated the lawful 
        stabilization rents on the amended rent calculation  chart  attached
        hereto and made a part hereof.  As shown on the chart,  the  tenants
        have not been overcharged.

        If the owner has already  complied  with  the  Rent  Administrator's
        order and there are arrears due to the owner  as  a  result  of  the
        instant determination, the tenant may pay off the arrears in  twelve
        equal monthly installments.  Should  the  tenant  vacate  after  the
        issuance of this order, said arrears shall be payable immediately.

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

        ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted, and 
        that the District  Rent  Administrator's  order  be,  and  the  same
        hereby is, revoked.

        The lawful stabilization rents are established on the attached chart 
        which is fully made a part of this order.

        ISSUED:

                                                                      
                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner
    

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