OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

     APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: EH 410134-RT
                                         :              FG 410295-RO
      DAVID M. GLASSER - TENANT                                       
                           PETITIONERS   :  DOCKET NO.: ZCB 410101-R


     On August 14, 1990, the above-named  petitioner-tenant  and  on  July  16,
     1991 the above-named petitioner-owner each timely  filed  a  Petition  for
     Administrative Review against an order issued on July 6, 1990 and  amended
     on June 7, 1991 by  the  Rent  Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall  Street,
     Jamaica, New York concerning the housing accommodation known as 206 Avenue 
     A, New York, New York, Apartment 4A wherein the Administrator directed the 
     owner to roll back the rent and to refund overcharges  in  the  amount  of
     $6041.05, inclusive of excess security and interest on the overcharge.

     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 appeals.

     The tenant commenced this proceeding on February  1,  1988  by  filing  an
     overcharge complaint  in  which  the  tenant  stated  that  he  had  taken
     occupancy of the subject premises on February 1, 1985 pursuant  to  a  one
     year lease terminating January 30, 1986 at a monthly rent of $550.00.

     A copy of the complaint was served on both the prior and current owners. 

     In the order issued on July 6, 1990 and amended on June 7,  1991  to  name
     the current owner, the Administrator determined that the tenant  had  been
     overcharged and directed the  refund  of  $6,041.05  inclusive  of  excess
     security and interest on the overcharge.

     In the appeal, the tenant seeks to modify  the  order  and  contends  that
     since the owners did not provide a copy of the  vacancy  lease  and  lease
     rider as is required by the Rent Stabilization Law, the owner should  have
     been denied a guidelines increase in the rent charged on February 1, 1985. 
     Moreover, given the owner's egregious conduct,  the  Administrator  should
     have awarded treble damages plus interest on the overcharge.   The  tenant
     seeks also to correct the Administrator's statement that no rent has  been
     paid since September 1, 1987, alleging that on January  26,  1989  he  had
     paid rent arrears to the petitioner-owner.


          DOCKET NUMBER: EH 410134-RT, FG 410295-RO
     In its own appeal and as answer to the tenant s  appeal,  the  petitioner-
     owner seeks to reverse the  Administrator's  order,  contending  that  the
     previous owner had voluntarily reduced  the  rent  and  had  refunded  all
     overcharges as credit against rent then owed.  The owner  submits  a  copy
     of a stipulation dated March 9, 1988 between  the  tenant  and  the  prior
     owner in which the prior owner had agreed to lower the rent and to  refund
     $7,547.10 by crediting $2,800.70 against rent in  arrears  and  by  paying
     $4,746.40 by check.

     In answer to the owner's petition,  the  tenant  asserts  that  the  prior
     owner did not perform its part of the agreement.  It  did  not  lower  the
     rent but insisted on the same rent payment as  was  collected  before  the
     agreement.   It  did  not  refund  the  agreed   upon   overcharges.    In
     substantiation thereof, the tenant submits  checks,  marked  NSF  for  Not
     Sufficient Funds which had been issued by the prior owner  as  payment  of
     the refund.

     After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion  that  the
     tenant's petition should be granted  in  part  and  the  owner's  petition
     should be denied.

     Code Section 2522.5 (b)(2) provides, in  pertinent  part,  that  the  DHCR
     shall order an owner, who has not done  so,  to  furnish  a  copy  of  the
     vacancy lease or renewal lease.  Section 2522.5 further provides that non 
     compliance by the owner within twenty days of the order  shall  result  in
     the  denial  of  any  rent  guidelines  increases.   Pursuant  to  Section
     2526.2(d) an owner who has been found to have refused to  comply  with  an
     order of the DHCR shall be barred from collecting any  rent  increase  for
     the affected housing accommodations.

     Although the prior owner did not initially furnish a copy of  the  vacancy
     lease, the owner did not fail to or refuse to comply with an order of  the
     DHCR.  The petitioner-owner did provide the tenant  with  a  copy  of  the
     lease.  Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that denial of rent guidelines 
     increase pursuant to Sections 2522.5 or 2526.2(d) is not warranted.

     With respect to the tenant's request for both interest, which was  awarded
     by the Administrator, and treble damages on the overcharge, since the Rent 
     Stabilization Law provides a penalty of either treble damages or interest, 
     the Commissioner will determine whether treble damages instead of interest 
     is warranted in the instant case.  The  Rent  Stabilization  law  assesses
     treble damages where the overcharge is "willful."  The statute,  in  fact,
     creates a presumption of willfulness subject to  rebuttal  by  the   owner
     showing non-willfulness of  the  overcharge  by  a  preponderance  of  the
     evidence.  In the absence of such affirmative proof by the  owner,  treble
     damages shall be assessed where a determination of overcharge is made.  If 
     the owner establishes by preponderance of the evidence that the overcharge 
     was not willful, the penalty shall be established as  the  amount  of  the
     overcharge plus  interest.   Pursuant  to  Code  Section  2526.1(a)(2)(i),
     treble damages may not be imposed on an  overcharge  which  occurred  more
     than two years before the filing of the complaint.

     Although  the  owner  asserts  and  submits  as  evidence  a  copy  of   a
     stipulation that all overcharges were refunded and that the prior owner 


          DOCKET NUMBER: EH 410134-RT, FG 410295-RO
     had voluntarily adjusted the rent, it has not  successfully  rebutted  the
     presumption of willfulness.  Although requested to do so,  the  owner  has
     submitted no documentary proof that  the  prior  owner  actually  complied
     with the terms of the stipulation or  tendered,  in  good  faith,  a  full
     refund.  The check marked NSF which was submitted by the tenant  indicates
     that the refund promised by the prior  owner  was  not  made.   Given  the
     dishonorment  of  the  refund  check,  the  Commissioner  finds  that  the
     petitioner-owner's reliance on the submitted agreement  as  proof  of  the
     alleged rent adjustment and overcharges refund is not justified.

     Accordingly, the Commissioner denies the owner's appeal and  directs  that
     treble damages be assessed on those overcharges collected  since  February
     1, 1986, two years before the tenant filed the complaint.  The penalty  on
     the overcharge collected before that date shall remain as  the  amount  of
     the  overcharge  plus  interest  on  the  overcharge.   Accordingly,   the
     overcharges to be refunded have been recalculated as follows:

     Lease Term          Actual Rent          Lawful Rent          Overcharge
     2/1/85-6/30/86      $550.00              $375.69              from 2/1/85
                                                                   to 1/30/86
                                                                   $174.31 x 12 
                                                                   mos        +
                                                                   from 2/1/86 
                                                                   $174.31 x 5
                                                                   x 3 =

     7/1/86-6/30/88     $585.00                $400. 0              from7/1/86-
                                                                   $184.90 x 14
                                                                   mos (treble)
                                                                   x 3 =
     Excess Security (as computed by Administrator)                $ 174.31
     Total overcharge -                                          $12,734.96
     Rent credit 9/1/87-3/31/88                                   (2,800.70)
     Net overcharge                                               $9,934.26

     The evidence indicates that the tenant stopped paying  rent  after  August
     31, 1987.  In this regard, the Commissioner  notes  that  based  upon  the
     lawful rent of $400.10 the $2,800.70 stipulated credit is equal  to  seven
     months rent.  Accordingly, the Commissioner has applied the credit as rent 
     payment for the period September  1,  1987  through  March  31,  1988  and
     reduced the overcharges to be refunded by the rent credit.  A receipt  for
     $2,000.00 signed by the petitioner-owner suggests payment of rent for five 
     months at the lawful rate.  Nothing in the record  demonstrates  that  any
     overcharges were collected after August 31, 1987.  Therefore, the  current
     owner is directed to refund $9,934.26 inclusive  of  excess  security  and
     treble damages.


          DOCKET NUMBER: EH 410134-RT, FG 410295-RO
     Upon the expiration of the period in  which  the  owner  may  institute  a
     proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil  Practice  Law  and  Rules,
     this order may be filed and enforced as judgment, or the tenant may offset 
     against any rent thereafter due the owner not in excess of twenty  percent
     per month of the remaining overcharge.

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

     ORDERED, that the tenant's petition be, and the same  hereby  is,  granted
     in part, and the owner's petition be and the same hereby  is,  denied  and
     the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same  hereby  is,  modified  in
     accordance with this order and opinion.


                                     ELLIOT SANDER
                                     Deputy Commissioner

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