EA410326RO


                                  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  SJR 7422 
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEALS OF                             DOCKET NO.  EA410062RT
          Schwarzberg/Gutfreund; Ivan Stux                EA410326RO
                      
           and Deb Spohnheimer                             
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.  ZL3117004R
                               

                                PETITIONER    : 
          ------------------------------------X                             
            ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PROCEEDING FOR FURTHER PROCESSING

               In January, 1990, the above-named prior-owners, present-owner 
          and the above-named petitioner-tenant  timely filed  Petitions for 
          Administrative Review against an order issued on December 20, 1989, 
          by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, New 
          York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 520 West End 
          Avenue , New York, Apartment No. 6 wherein the Rent Administrator 
          granted the tenant's Fair Market Rent Appeal (FMRA) and directed the 
          owners to refund $36,510.35 in excess rent.   

               Subsequent thereto, the petitioner-owner instituted a 
          proceeding in the Supreme Court, New York County, pursuant to 
          Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules in the nature of 
          mandamus for an expeditious determination of its petition.

               The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law Code.

               The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator's order was 
          warranted.

               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 appeals.  

               This proceeding was commenced on March 23, 1984 when the tenant 
          filed a complaint of rent overcharge in which she stated that she 
          had commenced occupancy on May 1, 1983 pursuant to a two year 
          sublease at an initial rental of $1225.00.  The tenant also stated 
          that she believed that the prime tenant was an illusory tenant and 
          was acting with the owner to raise the rent above the rent 
          stabilized rate.    

               In answer to the complaint, the prior owner stated that the 
          subject apartment was rented to the prime tenant when it was 
          decontrolled and that the subject apartment had been remodeled at a 
          cost of $5000.00.  The prior owner submitted a copy of an R-42, 
          Landlord's Report of Statutory Decontrol and the prime tenant's 
          initial and renewal leases.







          EA410326RO


               While this matter was pending, the subject property was sold to 
          the current owner.  

               A copy of the tenant's complaint was served on the current 
          owner on February 10, l988.  

               In response thereto, the current owner produced a copy of an 
          order, purportedly issued by the Rent Administrator on December
          5, 1984, terminating the proceeding.  

               DHCRcould find no record of this order as well as a similar 
          order purportedly issued on June 22, 1989 ever having been issued.  
          Accordingly, the processing of this proceeding continued.  

                In the order here under appeal, the Rent Administrator 
          determined that since the first rent stabilized tenant was an 
          illusory prime tenant, the complainant was entitled to a fair market 
          rent appeal as the first rent stabilized tenant.  Establishing the 
          fair market rent, solely on the basis of Special Guidelines No. 14, 
          at $380.62 effective May 1,1983, the Administrator directed the 
          refund of $36,510.35 in excess rent through December 31, 1989.

               In its appeal, the prior owner contends that the 
          Administrator's order should be reversed  because:
          1)  there was a final order which determined  that there was no 
          overcharge;  since no appeal was taken of that order, the matter 
          should be closed;  
          2)  the prior owners have been denied due process;  they have not 
          been served with all submissions of the parties;  
          3)  the Administrator erred in computing the fair market rent by 
          omitting the fuel passalong from the rent before applying the 
          special guidelines;  not giving credit for $8000.00 in improvements;  
          or recognizing  the unique features of the subject apartment;  
          4)  the owner would have submitted comparability data if the request 
          had been made;  the owner was not informed of the fair market 
          processing of the complaint.  

                In his appeal, the current owner contends that the order 
          herein should be considered a nullity as two prior orders dismissed 
          the proceeding in its entirety with no  appeal filed.  There is no 
          basis or authority  for the Rent Administrator to reopen a long 
          terminated proceeding without notice and without stating any reason 
          therefore.  Moreover the Administrator gave the owner no opportunity 
          to submit comparability data.  Lastly, the order incorrectly assumes 
          that the tenant paid all the rent that was due.

               In her appeal, the tenant contends that the Administrastor 
          erred in failing to award treble damages or attorneys fees as the 
          record substantiates the willfulness of the overcharge and the 
          entitlement to attorneys fees.  

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this proceeding should 
          be remanded for further processing.  

               Review of the record discloses that prior to the issuance of 
          the order appealed herein, no other order was issued on this matter 
          by the Rent Administrator.  


          EA410326RO


                Review of the record further discloses that none of the 
          parties was notified that the instant complaint would be processed 
          as a fair market rent appeal.  Accordingly, the Commissioner finds 
          that the matter should be remanded to enable the parties to submit 
          the required comparability data for a fair market rent appeal filed 
          prior to April 1,1984.  
            
               Therefore, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and Code, it is

               Ordered, that this proceeding be, and the same hereby is, 
          remanded for further processing in accordance with this order and 
          opinion.  The automatic stay of so much of the Rent Administrator's 
          order as directed a refund is hereby continued until a new order is 
          issued upon remand.  However, the Rent Administrator's determination 
          as to the rent is not stayed and shall remain in effect, except for 
          any adjustments pursuant to lease renewals, until the Administrator 
          issues a new order upon remand.

            

          ISSUED:



                                                                        
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Deputy Commissioner




                     































          EA410326RO







    

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