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

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET  NO.  EH  910268  RO
                                                 DISTRICT RENT 
                                                 ADMINISTRATOR'S      DOCKET
                                                 NO.          YCK-8-1-0037-R
              JAMAL MARJI
                                 PETITIONER   :  Tenant: Carol McFarlane


               On August 21, 1990, the above named petitioner-owner filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review  against  an  order  issued  on
          August 2, 1990, by the Rent Administrator  at  55  Church  Street,
          White Plains, New York, concerning housing accommodations known as 
          apartment number 2 at 5 Convent Avenue, Yonkers, New York, wherein 
          the Administrator established the stabilized rent and directed the 
          owner to refund $5,676.61, including interest from April 1,  1984.

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

               This proceeding was originally commenced on October 19, 1988, 
          by the filing of a complaint of rent overcharge by the tenant. 

               The owner submitted an answer wherein it was stated that  the
          prior tenant had paid $425.00 per month; had  had  no  lease;  and
          that when the prior tenant  vacated,  the  apartment  was  vacancy
          decontrolled.  The owner further alleged that the current tenant's 
          rent  was  fixed  based  on   comparable   rents   after   certain
          improvements had been made.  The owner stated  that  the  cost  of
          these improvements was $8,266.37. 

               In a reply to the owner's answer, the tenant  stated  that  a
          new kitchen and bathroom had been installed, but the work had been 
          done in an unworkmanlike manner. 

               In the order, the Administrator  established  the  stabilized
          rent allowing the owner a rent increase based on the  installation
          of kitchen cabinets and a countertop costing $574.11.  The 

          Administrator stated that  the  rest  of  the  costs  were  deemed
          ordinary repairs and maintenance; and as such, they do not qualify

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: EH 910268 RO
          for a rent increase under Section 2502.4 of the Tenant  Protection
          Regulations (TPR).     

               In its Petition, the owner contends  that  the  Administrator
          erred in the  rent  calculation  by  failing  to  acknowledge  the
          owner's entitlement to a rent increase based on all of the claimed 

               Although afforded the opportunity to do so,  the  tenant  did
          not answer the Petition.

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that the  Petition  should
          be denied.     

               The Commissioner notes that the Division's registration  data
          shows that the owner  had  registered  the  subject  apartment  as
          subject  to  Rent  Stabilization  since  1984.    Therefore,   the
          Commissioner finds that the owner's implied argument that  it  was
          entitled to charge the tenant a free market rent  is  rebutted  by
          the registration data the owner filed with the Division.       

               The Commissioner further finds that  the  Administrator  need
          not have reached the question of the nature of the work done as to 
          all but $2,994.00 of the rejected costs.  That is the case because 
          of the nineteen invoices and twelve cancelled checks submitted  to
          substantiate those costs only one invoice and one cancelled  check
          bore any notation as to the apartment  for  which  the  respective
          goods and/or services were  purchased.   The  invoice  was  for  a
          $2,000.00 cash payment to one Joaquin Campos "for  labor  (cabinet
          work, sheet track [sic], flooring, and tile  work)  done  at  Apt.
          #2,".  The check is check #555, dated April 29, 1986 (the  payee's
          name is illegible), for $994.00.  The notation on the check  reads
          "Apt. 2 plaster & paint."  All of the other  rejected  costs  were
          properly subject to rejection as unsubstantiated.    

               The Commissioner finds  that  the  Campos  invoice  does  not
          provide credible substantiation for the subject costs in a  matter
          such as this where the question is how much was  paid.   Moreover,
          the  work  described  in  this  invoice  is  not  described   with
          sufficient specificity that  anyone  reading  this  invoice  could
          determine whether the work performed (or any portion thereof)  was
          of the type that would entitle an owner to a rent  increase  under
          TPR Section 2502.4.  The Division's Policy has long been  to  deny
          such an increase for sheet rock  work,  flooring  and  tile  work,
          unless the work is a clear upgrading of the pre-existing  item  or
          the work is part of a  "moderate  rehabilitation"  of  the  entire
          apartment.  The owner's failure to provide adequate substantiation 
          for the work claimed to have been done has made it impossible  for
          the Commissioner to determine that either of those two  exceptions
          may be applied herein.  The Commissioner notes that the burden  of

          proof on these questions is  on  the  owner  and  that  the  owner
          failed to meet that burden below.   The  Commissioner,  therefore,
          finds that the Administrator properly  denied  any  rent  increase
          based on the Campos invoice.          

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: EH 910268 RO
               The Commissioner finds  that  check  #555  does  not  provide
          substantiation for costs that would entitle an  owner  to  a  rent
          increase under TPR Section 2502.4 since the cost  of  painting  an
          apartment and doing the plastering  work  incidental  thereto  are
          ordinary maintenance and repair; as such, the costs thereof do not 
          qualify as the basis for a rent increase.  

               Based on all of the above, the Commissioner believes that the 
          Administrator's order should be affirmed.

               The Commissioner notes that the  Administrator's  order  may,
          upon the expiration of the period in which the owner may institute 
          a proceeding  pursuant  to  Article  Seventy-eight  of  the  Civil
          Practice Law and Rules, be filed and enforced by the tenant in the 
          same manner as a judgment or  not  in  excess  of  twenty  percent
          thereof per month may be offset against any  rent  thereafter  due
          the owner.

               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 
          1974 and the Tenant Protection Regulations, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is denied, 
          and the Administrator's order be and the same hereby is affirmed. 


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner


          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: EH 910268 RO


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