Docket No. EL 410275-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

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          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE    ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: EL 410275-RO
                                                
             SOLIL MANAGEMENT CORP.,             DRO DOCKET NO.: ZL 003751-R

                                                 TENANT: Rita Halley 
                                PETITIONER     
          ----------------------------------X                           
            
            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On December 20, 1990  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order  of  the  Rent
          Administrator issued  November  30,  1990.   The  order  concerned
          housing accommodations known as Apt. 8N located at 145  East  16th
          Street, New York, New York.  The Administrator determined that the 
          tenant had been overcharged in the amount of $6,541.72.

          The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully  considered
          that portion relevant to the issues raised by this appeal.

          The tenant commenced this proceeding by filing a  rent  overcharge
          complaint on  September  11,  1985.   She  stated  that  she  took
          occupancy of the apartment September 1, 1984 at a rent of  $514.09
          per month.  She also stated 4 reasons that she believed the  owner
          was overcharging her:

                    1)  The owner did not provide a rent  history  rider
               with the initial lease

                    2)  She was denied the opportunity  to  protest  the
               installation  of  certain  appliances  in  the  apartment
               because  the  owner  did  not   send   her   the   proper
               documentation.

                    3)  The  owner  incorporated  the  appliance  charge
               into the base rent of her next  lease  when  that  charge
               had yet to be substantiated.

                    4)  The owner refused to allow her to sign a 2  year
               initial lease which  would  have  meant  that  a  renewal
               would be in accordance with guidelines which  would  have
               resulted in a lower renewal rent.

          The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded  an
          opportunity to reply.  The owner filed a reply on October 14, 1985 
          wherein it set forth a rent history from June 1, 1981 and provided 
          bills substantiating the appliance charge  of  $25.50  per  month.
          The owner denied preventing the tenant from  signing  a  two  year
          lease.  The tenant filed  a  response  to  the  owners  answer  on
          October 26, 1985 wherein  she  repeated  her  assertion  that  the
          appliance charge should not have been added without  her  consent.






          Docket No. EL 410275-RO

          She also took issue with the owners rent history.

          On August 3, 1990 the Administrator sent a request for  additional
          evidence to the owner wherein the following  was  demanded  to  be
          produced:

               1)  copies of all leases from April 1, 1989 to present
               2)  copies of cancelled checks and bills to 
                   substantiate the $25.50 per month charge for 
                   appliances
               3)  a copy of an MCI order pursuant to which the owner 
                   increased the tenants rent in January 1989.

          The owner complied with the Administrator's request.

          On November 30, 1990 the  Administrator  issued  the  order  under
          appeal.   The  Administrator  found  that   the   owner   properly
          substantiated the cost of the improvements but,  that  the  $25.50
          per month was added prospectively to  the  tenant  in  October  1,
          1984 for new equipment installed during a vacancy period the  cost
          must be added to the tenants lease  from  the  beginning  of  that
          lease.  Since the owner did not begin to collect the  increase  on
          September 1, 1984 and since no written consent to the increase had 
          ever been given by the tenant, the Administrator  ruled  that  the
          owner's  prospective  imposition  of  the  appliance  charge   was
          improper.  An overcharge of $2,169.57 was  computed  and  trebled.
          The total overcharge  was  fixed  at  $6,541.72  including  excess
          security.

          On appeal the owner states that the failure to begin charging  the
          tenant for the appliance installation on September 1, 1984 was due 
          to the "care not to charge the tenant an arbitrary amount for  the
          new   appliances   in   the   vacancy   lease    without    proper
          substantiation."  The petitioner claims that the tenant was unsure 
          of the exact amount of the charge until after the lease term began 
          and was a month late in beginning to assess the  charge  while  it
          determined the proper amount.  Petitioner argues  that  the  lease
          provides  for  adjustments  but  it  is  a  clause  dealing   with
          adjustments due to rent guidelines.  Petitioner also states  that,
          even assuming arguendo there was an overcharge, the facts of  this
          case indicate it was not  "willful"  within  the  meaning  of  the
          provision of the Rent Stabilization Code mandating the  imposition
          of treble damages.   The  tenant  filed  a  response  wherein  she
          restated her belief that the owner acted improperly and  that  the
          charges were willful.







          Docket No. EL 410275-RO

          After  a  careful  review  of  the  evidence  in  the  record  the
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

          Pursuant  to  Section  2522.4  (a)  (4)  and  (5)  of   the   Rent
          Stabilization Code:

               (4)  "The increase in the monthly stabilization rent  for
               the  affected  housing  accommodations  when   authorized
               pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subdivision  (a)  shall
               be 1/40th of the total cost including  installation,  but
               excluding finance charges; and any increase  pursuant  to
               paragraphs (2) and (3) shall 1/60th  of  the  total  cost
               including installation but excluding finance  charges  as
               allocated in  accordance  with  paragraph  (12)  of  this
               subdivision (a) for increases pursuant  to  subparagraphs
               (iii) and (iv) of paragraph (2) of this subdivision  (a),
               in the discretion of the DHCR, an appropriate charge  may
               be imposed in lieu of  an  amortization  charge  when  an
               amortization charge is insignificant or inappropriate.

               (5)  Such increases shall not be collectible  during  the
               term of a lease then effect, unless a specific  provision
               in the tenant's lease authorizes an increase  during  its
               term pursuant to an order  issued  by  the  DHCR,  except
               increases pursuant to paragraph (1) of  this  subdivision
               (a) may be collected upon installation."

          The plain language of Section 2522.4(a)(5) mandated a finding that 
          petitioner improperly began charging the tenant in  October  1984.
          Regardless of petitioner's attempts to  explain  this  action  the
          tenant did not consent to the installation, as she was obliged  to
          do for the owner to collect the appliance charge during the  lease
          term.  The Administrator correctly applied the law  to  the  facts
          presented in the record.  Similarly, the Administrator was correct 
          in imposing treble damages.  The owner is  presumed  to  know  the
          provisions of the Rent  Stabilization  Code  including  those  set
          forth above.  Pursuant to 9NYCRR 2526.1 (a)(1):

               "Any owner who is found by the DHCR, after  a  reasonable
               opportunity to be heard, to have collected  any  rent  or
               other consideration in  excess  of  the  legal  regulated
               rent shall be ordered to pay  to  the  tenant  a  penalty
               equal to three times the amount of  such  excess,  except
               as provided under subdivision (f) of this section."

          While certain exceptions to this rule exist petitioners actions do 
          not fall under any of the circumstances that would relieve it from 
          treble damages liability.  The Administrator's order was  based  o
          substantial evidence and must be affirmed.

          THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is






          Docket No. EL 410275-RO



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

          ISSUED:



                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner


    

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