Docket Number: EI710096-RO
                                 STATE OF NEW YORK
                           OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

        APPEAL OF                             DOCKET NO. EI 710096-RO
                                              DOCKET NO. ED 710271-R
                              PETITIONER    : 
        ------------------------------------X  TENANTS:  DONNA   AND   KEVIN

        On September 7, 1990, the above-named landlord filed a petition  for
        administrative review of an order issued on  August  3,  1990  by  a
        District Rent Administrator concerning  the  housing  accommodations
        known as Apartment  2M,  599  Front  Street,  Hempstead,  New  York,
        wherein the Administrator determined  that  a  rent  overcharge  had

        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 petition for review.

        This proceeding was commenced on April 26, 1990 upon the filing of a 
        general complaint of rent overcharge by the  tenants.   The  tenants
        stated that they had not been presented with a rent history  of  the
        subject apartment.

        The Division of Housing and  Community  Renewal  (DHCR)  served  the
        landlord with a copy of the tenants' complaint.  On  June  13,  1990
        the landlord's answer was received.  The landlord  alleged  that  no
        overcharges occurred and submitted  all  relevant  leases  with  its

        In the order here under review, the  Administrator  established  the
        lawful stabilization rent of $783.96 as of May 1, 1990 through April 
        30, 1991.  Further, the Administrator found overcharges  of  $437.66
        including interest plus a penalty  of  $250.00  for  the  landlord's
        failure to inform the complainant of the prior  tenant's  rent,  and
        directed the landlord to refund to the tenant a total of $687.66.

        In its petition for administrative review the landlord alleges  that
        the imposition of the penalty  was  unfair  and  that  it  routinely
        advises tenant of the prior rent as  a  matter  of  company  policy.
        Further, the landlord alleges that the Administrator's  calculations
        were incorrect and no overcharges occurred.

        After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion that 
        this petition should be denied.

        First,   the   Administrator   correctly   calculated   the    legal
        stabilization rent.  Section 2502.5(c)(6) of the  Tenant  Protection
        Regulations  is  determinative  in   this   instance.    The   lease

          Docket Number: EI710096-RO
        immediately preceding the complainant's initial lease was for a one 
        year renewal period.  This one-year term was not  completed  by  the
        prior tenant, and the  complainant  occupied  the  subject  premises
        prior to the date upon which the prior  lease  would  have  expired.
        The landlord incorrectly used this unexpired rental  rate  ($671.96)
        as the basis for computing the rent adjustment.  The  Administrator,
        on the other hand, correctly used the  rent  amount  ($649.24)  that
        would be permissible if the last lease with  the  prior  tenant  had
        been for a term ending on the date such prior  tenant  vacated.   In
        accordance with DHCR policy and precedent, in housing accommodations 
        subject to the Tenant Protection Regulations,  a  landlord  may  not
        collect any guideline increase for a renewal lease of less than  one
        year.   Therefore,  an  overcharge  occurred   and   was   correctly
        calculated by the Administrator.

        Second,  the  Administrator  was  well  within  her  discretion   in
        assessing a $250.00 penalty upon the landlord.   Section  2506.2  of
        the Tenant Protection Regulations is determinative of  this  matter.
        It states in part that if it is found that  the  landlord  knowingly
        engaged in prohibited acts under the statute, it may be  assessed  a
        penalty of up to $250.00 for each such act.   The  Administrator  in
        her initial notice to the landlord  included  the  complaint,  which
        alleged a failure to provide a lease history, and an  advisory  that
        penalties  might   be   assessed.    The   landlord   submitted   no
        documentation  (e.g.  affidavits,  initialed  agreements  etc.)   to
        contradict the tenant's allegation.  Given the lack of  evidence  in
        the record, the Commissioner shall not overturn the determination of 
        the Administrator.

        THEREFORE, in accordance with the Emergency  Tenant  Protection  Act
        and Tenant Protection Regulations, it is

        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, affirmed; and it is

        FURTHER ORDERED, that, if the landlord has not  complied  with  this
        Order and Opinion, upon the expiration of the  period  in  which  to
        institute a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil  Practice
        Law and Rules for judicial review of this order, this order  may  be
        filed and enforced by the tenant in the same manner  as  a  judgment
        against the landlord in the amount of $687.66,  or  the  tenant  may
        offset against any rent thereafter due the landlord, not  in  excess
        of twenty percent of $687.66 per month until the amount  of  $687,66
        is fully repaid.


                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner

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