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

          ----------------------------------X  S.J.R. 5700
          APPEAL OF                            DOCKET NO.: FB 410310 RO
                                               D.R.O. DOCKET NO.: LC 000149 AD
                                               TENANTS: LOUIS AND FLORENCE WILLNER


          On February 14, 1991, the above named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          January 14, 1991, by the District Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union 
          Hall Street, Jamaica, New York, concerning housing accommodations 
          known as Apartment 11D, 251 East 51st Street, New York, New York, 
          wherein  the  District  Rent  Administrator  placed  the  subject
          apartment under rent control.

          Subsequent thereto, the owner filed a petition in  the  New  York
          County Supreme Court pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice 
          Law and Rules seeking an annulment of the "deemed denial" of  its
          petition for administrative review.

          The Commissioner notes that this proceeding was  initiated  prior
          to April 1, 1984.  Sections 2526.1(a)(4)  and  2521.1(d)  of  the
          Rent Stabilization Code (effective May 1,  1987)  governing  rent
          overcharge  and  fair  market  rent  proceedings   provide   that
          determination of these matters be based  upon  the  law  or  code
          provisions in  effect  on  March  31,  1984.   Therefore,  unless
          otherwise  indicated,  reference  to   sections   of   the   Rent
          Stabilization Code (Code) contained herein are  to  the  Code  in
          effect on April 30, 1987.

          The  issue  in  this  appeal  is  whether   the   District   Rent
          Administrator's order was warranted.

          The applicable sections of the law are Sections 20A and 42 of the 
          former Rent Stabilization Code.

          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  commenced  on  January  29,  1984,  by  the
          tenant's filing of a rent overcharge complaint with the New  York
          City Conciliation and Appeals Board (CAB),  the  agency  formerly
          charged with enforcing the Rent Stabilization Law.

          On February  21,  1984,  the  CAB  informed  the  New  York  City

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          Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)  that  a
          records check  indicated  that  the  subject  apartment  was  not
          enrolled with the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA).

          On May 15, 1984 the owner informed  the  CAB  that  although  the
          subject building had been converted to cooperative ownership, the 
          apartments represented by unsold  shares  had  been  continuously
          enrolled with the RSA with an RSA Number of 072298.

          On June 5, 1987, the Division of Housing  and  Community  Renewal
          (DHCR) notified the owner that a proceeding had  been  instituted
          pursuant to Section 2202.22 of the Rent and Eviction  Regulations
          to establish the status  and/or  maximum  rent  for  the  subject
          apartment based upon the owner's failure  to  join  or  remain  a
          member in good standing of the RSA prior to April 1, 1984.   DHCR
          requested  from  the  owner  copies  of  the   Certification   of
          Compliance and the RSA Certificate.

          On July 13, 1987 the owner informed DHCR that it  was  unable  to
          obtain the requested documentation from the RSA.  The owner  also
          stated that pursuant to the Omnibus Housing Act of 1983  all  RSA
          records became the property of DHCR on April 1,  1984,  and  that
          therefore the requested documentation was being held by the DHCR.

          On April 14, 1988 the District Rent  Administrator  notified  the
          owner that DHCR proposed to determine that the subject  apartment
          was subject to rent control as of February 29, 1984 (the date  of
          referral from the CAB to HPD) and to establish the  maximum  rent
          at $185.00 per month.

          On April 15, 1988, the owner submitted  to  DHCR  copies  of  the
          following documents:

               1)   a letter  from  the  RSA  to  the  owner  dated
                    April  13,  1988  stating  that   the   subject
                    apartment had been enrolled in  the  RSA  since

               2)   a letter from the owner to the RSA  dated  June
                    17, 1980 which enclosed a  copy  of  the  Third
                    Amendment  to  the  Offering   Plan   for   the
                    subject building declaring  it  a  co-op  along
                    with  a  supporting  affidavit  dated  May   2,
                    1980  and  also   a   dues   payment   for   22
                    apartments  of  the  subject  building  and  an
                    adjustment  of  the  RSA  bill  for   dues   to
                    reflect payment for the remaining  unsold  rent
                    stabilized apartments;

               3)   an RSA  Transfer  of  ownership  Form  (account
                    number 07229) dated  February  13,  1976  which
                    was signed  by  the  owner  and  marked  "PAID"
                    wherein the owner paid annual  membership  dues
                    of $686.00 for 196 apartments  of  the  subject
                    building; and

               4)   a Notice to Attorn to Receiver  dated  February
                    20,  1976  (Index  Number  02247/76,  New  York
                    State Supreme Court, New York  County)  stating

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               that  Sulzberger-Rolfe   had   been   appointed
                    manager of the subject building.

          On April 22, 1988, the tenant, through her attorney, agreed  with
          the Administrator's proposed determination,  and  requested  that
          DHCR make a determination that she did not owe the owner any rent 
          arrears, and that she had been overcharged since May 1, 1983.

          On June 15, 1988, DHCR mailed to the owner a  Final  Request  for
          evidence, such as cancelled checks, receipts or bills for dues to 
          substantiate its allegation of continued membership  in  the  RSA
          from 1969 and up to and including March 31, 1984.

          On June 24, 1988, the owner responded by contending in  substance
          that the DHCR  request  of  June  15,  1988  was  burdensome  and
          unnecessary; that the  owner  had  already  submitted  conclusive
          evidence to DHCR of the  continuous  enrollment  of  the  subject
          premises with the RSA  since  1969;  that  the  owner  had  never
          received any notice that it was either expelled or  suspended  by
          the RSA, and that this fact should be reflected in the RSA  files
          which were turned over to the DHCR; and  that  absent  a  showing
          that the owner was expelled or suspended from the RSA, there  was
          no basis for alleging contrary to the evidence.

          In Docket  Number  LC-000149-AD  issued  January  14,  1991,  the
          District Rent Administrator determined that the subject apartment 
          was  subject  to  the  provisions  of  the  Rent   and   Eviction
          Regulations based on the owner's failure  to  join  or  remain  a
          member in good standing of the RSA prior to April  1,  1984,  and
          accordingly established the maximum legal  rent  of  the  subject
          apartment as $185.00 per month.
          In this petition,  the  owner  contends  in  substance  that  the
          District Rent Administrator's order is incorrect  and  should  be
          reversed because:

               1)   the Administrator had  no  statutory  authority
                    to  place  the  subject  apartment  under  rent
                    control because  the  Administrator  based  her
                    decision on  a  former  section  (YY51-4.0)  of
                    the   Rent   Stabilization   Law   which    was
                    expressly repealed by the Omnibus  Housing  Act
                    of 1983;

               2)   the owner has been a member  in  good  standing
                    of the RSA since prior to April  1,  1984,  and
                    the  subject  premises  has  been  enrolled  in
                    the RSA since 1969;

               3)   the owner expressly requested  DHCR  to  review
                    the records of the  RSA  for  any  evidence  of
                    the owner's expulsion from  the  RSA,  but  the
                    Administrator made  no  effort  to  review  RSA
                    records  and  presented  no  evidence  to   the
                    owner which contradicted  the  April  13,  1988
                    letter from the RSA; and

               4)   even if the owner was  not  a  member  in  good
                    standing with the RSA in 1984,  Section  12  of
                    the  former  Rent  Stabilization  Code  allowed

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               the owner to file for late enrollment.

          In response to the  owner's  petition,  the  tenant  contends  in
          substance that the owner  was  required  to  enroll  the  subject
          premises with the RSA from the  date  he  acquired  the  building
          until April 1, 1984, but failed to  do  so,  and  therefore,  the
          status of the apartment changed to rent control on  February  29,
          1984; the owner did not file an application for  late  enrollment
          with the RSA; the owner had not  submitted  any  competent  proof
          that either Robert Liberman as owner or the subject apartment was 
          ever enrolled with the RSA; and the  issue  is  not  whether  the
          premises was continuously enrolled with the RSA since  1969,  but
          rather whether Robert Liberman had registered with the RSA as the 
          owner and whether the subject apartment was  properly  registered
          as a rent stabilized unit.

          In rebuttal, the owner contends in substance that  if  the  prior
          Code was still in effect and was applied consistently, the  owner
          would have the right to enroll late in  the  RSA  retroactive  to
          1984; the only issue in the instant  proceeding  is  whether  the
          subject premises was continuously enrolled in the RSA since 1969; 
          the  tenants  are  confusing  enrollment  in  the  RSA  with  the
          stricter requirements of filing a multiple dwelling  registration
          (MDR); the owner  has  submitted  ample  evidence  to  prove  the
          enrollment of the subject premises with the RSA since  1969;  the
          courts  and  the  Commissioner  have  repeatedly  held  that  the
          Administrator has the obligation to search the DHCR's own records 
          prior to any determination; Section 18 of the Omnibus Housing Act 
          expressly provided that the  RSA  enrollment  records  be  turned
          owner to DHCR as of  April  1,  1984;  and  DHCR  has  completely
          ignored the owner's FOIL request so at the very least it would be 
          expected that the RSA  enrollment  records  be  reviewed  by  the

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this proceeding  must  be
          remanded for further consideration.

          A review of the record in the instant  case  indicates  that  the
          owner has submitted substantial and persuasive  evidence  of  the
          subject apartment's continuous enrollment in the RSA since  1969,
          including a letter from the RSA dated April 13,  1988  confirming
          the above-mentioned enrollment, the owner's June 17, 1980  letter
          showing a dues payment to RSA; and the RSA transfer of  ownership
          form.  Contrary to the tenant's  assertion  in  response  to  the
          owner's petition, the determinant issue in this case  IS  whether
          the subject premises was continuously enrolled with the RSA since 
          1969.  Based on the foregoing, the Commissioner  finds  that  the
          owner was a member in good standing of the RSA prior to April  1,
          1984, and that the Administrator erred  by  placing  the  subject
          apartment under rent control.  Accordingly, this matter  must  be
          remanded to the District  Rent  Administrator  to  determine  the
          lawful stabilization rents for the  subject  apartment  from  the
          base rent date of June 30, 1974 and to  determine  if  there  has
          been a rent overcharge paid by the tenant.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby  is,  granted

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          to the extent of remanding this proceeding to the  District  Rent
          Administrator for further  processing  in  accordance  with  this
          order and opinion.  The District Rent  Administrator's  order  of
          January 14, 1991 is hereby revoked.   Any  arrears  owed  by  the
          tenant as a result of this order may be paid by the tenantto  the
          owner in equal monthly installments over the course of  the  next
          six months.

                                                  ELLIOT SANDER
                                                  Deputy Commissioner

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