FD 610014-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.:
                                        FD 610014-RO
    MORRIS AVENUE ASSOCIATES,
                                        DRO DOCKET NO.:
                        PETITIONER      CJ 610113-R
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  ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                
                                
On  April  4,  1991,  the  above named petitioner-owner  filed  a
Petition  for  Administrative Review against an order  issued  on
March  6,  1991, by a Rent Administrator concerning  the  housing
accommodation  known  as  Apartment 2-B at  1704  Morris  Avenue,
Bronx,  New York, wherein the District Rent Administrator  deter-
mined  that  the  tenant had been overcharged in  the  amount  of
$1,733.06, 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 October 3, 1988.

The   tenants  took  occupancy  pursuant  to  a  one  year  lease
commencing  August  1, 1988, and expiring July  31,  1989,  at  a
monthly rent of $358.06.

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

In   Order  No.  CJ  610113-R,  issued  on  March  6,  1991,  the
Administrator determined that the tenant had been overcharged  in
the  amount  of  $1,733.06, including treble damages  and  excess
security.



The  initial overcharge of $15.02 per month had occurred  in  the
two-year  renewal  lease  of  the prior  tenant,  executed  under
Guidelines 18.  It resulted from the owner's erroneous  inclusion
of  a  $15.00  supplement for low rents  that  had  already  been
included in the prior lease, under Guidelines 17, but which could
not be collected in two successive guidelines.

In  its  petition, dated March 27, 1991, the owner contends  that
the  imposition  of treble damages is improper because  the  sole
cause  of the overcharges was the owner's "mistaken belief"  that
he  was entitled to the $15.00 supplement.  The owner states that
he  "was  not apprised of the fact" that the low-rent supplements
cannot  be  repeated if they had already been  collected  in  the
lease  under the prior Guidelines Order.  Such a mistake must  be
considered a mere "hypertechnical computational error" which,  as
defined  in  DHCR Policy Statement 89-2, are not consistent  with
the  "willfulness"  standard  that is  required  for  the  treble
damages penalty.

The  Commissioner  is  of the opinion that the  owner's  petition
should be denied.

Although  Policy Statement 89-2 does list certain errors  in  the
computation  of the lawful rent which, because of  their  "hyper-
technical  nature", tend to prove that the resulting  overcharges
were  not  willful, the error in the instant case is not included
on  that  list, nor has the Commissioner ever afforded  it  their
equivalency.  The guidelines do not make the proscription against
taking the supplement in successive guidelines any more difficult
to  discover  then the supplement itself, and  thus  no  lack  of
willfulness can be inferred when it is conveniently overlooked.

This  order may, upon the expiration of the period in  which  the
owner  may  institute a proceeding pursuant to  Article  Seventy-
Eight  of the Civil Practive 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 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
    

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