EK 610186-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     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:
                                        EK-610186-RO
       KENNETH FRIEDMAN,
                                        DISTRICT ADMIN. DOCKET NO.:
                        PETITIONER      BG-610254-R
----------------------------------x


  ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                
                                
On  November 14, 1990, the above named petitioner-owner  filed  a
Petition  for  Administrative Review against an order  issued  on
November  1, 1990, by the District Rent Administrator  concerning
housing  accommodations known as Apartment 4-E at 1370 University
Avenue,  Bronx, New York, wherein the District Rent Administrator
determined that the tenant had been overcharged in the amount  of
$2,334.01, including treble damages and excess security.

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 by the filing of a rent
overcharge complaint by the tenant on July 2, 1987.

The  tenant  took  occupancy pursuant to a  one-year  lease  com-
mencing  November 5, 1986, and expiring November 4,  1987,  at  a
monthly rent of $357.82.

The  owner  was served with a copy of the complaint and  was  di-
rected  to  submit a complete rent history from  the  base  date,
including copies of all leases.

On  September  18,  1990, the owner answered  the  complaint  and
submitted a complete lease history.  The answer stated  that  the
owner  discovered  a  bookkeeping error  that  led  to  a  $15.00
overcharge in the tenant's initial lease, and that the owner  was
willing to reduce the rent and refund any overcharges in order to
avoid treble damages.

In Order No. BG 610254-R issued on November 1, 1990, the District
Rent  Administrator determined that the tenant  had  actual  rent
overcharges  of  $772.20, which after the application  of  treble
damages  and  excess  security resulted in total  overcharges  of
$2,334.01.  All determined overcharges stemmed from the incorrect
addition  of a $15.00 supplement authorized under Rent Guidelines
Order No. 18.

In  the  owner's  petition, dated November 14,  1990,  the  owner
states that the overcharge was not willful and was obviously  the
result of a bookkeeping error in calculating the tenant's initial
rent.

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

The  record  in this case establishes that all actual overcharges
in  the tenant's rent resulted from the erroneous addition  of  a
$15.00  supplement  for  rents under $350.00,  even  though  this
supplement had also been taken in the previous lease, a  practice
which  is  forbidden  under the guidelines.  Although  the  owner
claims  that  this  kind of error should be considered  as  of  a
"hypertechnical  nature" that, as stated  in  the  DHCR's  Policy
Statement  89-2,  meets  the burden of  proof  in  rebutting  the
presumption  of  willfulness  such  as  ordinarily  requires  the
assessment  of  treble  damages, the contributory  error  in  the
instant  case is not so listed in Policy Statement 89-2, nor  has
the  Commissioner ever recognized it as an equivalent. Similarly,
the owner's "willingness" to refund all overcharges and to adjust
the  legal rent prior to the issuance of the order does not  meet
the requirements of the policy statement, which requires that the
owner   actually  refund  the  overcharges  instead   of   merely
acknowledging them.


THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that the Petition be, and the same hereby is denied; and
that  the  Administrator's order be,  and  the  same  hereby  is,
affirmed.

ISSUED:



ELLIOT SANDER
                                         Deputy Commissioner
    

TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name