FH 610311 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     S.J.R. 6181
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW 
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FH 610311 RO

                     ITEM ASSOCIATES,             DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.:  CL 610194 R
                                                  
                                                  TENANT:  JUANA PEREZ
                                  PETITIONER
          ----------------------------------X                                   


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


          On August 29, 1991 the above-named owner  filed  a  Petition  for
          Administrative Review against an order issued on July 26, 1991 by 
          a Rent Administrator concerning housing accommodations  known  as
          80 West 170th Street, Apartment 4D, New York, New  York,  wherein
          the  Administrator  determined   that   the   tenant   had   been
          overcharged.

          Subsequent thereto, the petitioner filed a petition in the nature 
          of mandamus in the Supreme Court pursuant to Article  78  of  the
          Civil  Practice  Law  and  Rules   requesting   the   expeditious
          determination of the administrative appeal.

          The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in  the  record
          and has carefully considered that portion of the record  relevant
          to the issues raised by the administrative appeal.

          This  proceeding  was  originally  commenced  by  the  filing  on
          December 21, 1988 of a rent overcharge complaint by the tenant in 
          which she stated that she had commenced occupancy on November 15, 
          1988 at a rent of $560.00 per month.

          The owner filed an initial registration statement for the subject 
          premises effective April 1, 1984.  The  registration  stated  the
          legal rent as $265.66.

          The owner was served  with  a  copy  of  the  complaint  and  was
          directed to submit a complete rent history  from  the  month  the
          owner was first required to register the apartment or  the  month
          four years prior to the most recent registration statement before 
          the tenant's complaint, whichever was later.

          The owner failed to comply with this request.

          On July 26, 1991  the  Rent  Administrator  determined  that  the
          tenant  had  been  overcharged  in  the  amount  of   $13,853.04,
          including treble damages.  The owner was directed to refund  this






          FH 610311 RO
          amount to the tenant and to roll back the  rent  to  $459.72  per
          month, being the legal regulated  rent  in  accordance  with  the
          Administrator's calculations.

          In its petition, dated August 26, 1991, the owner  contends  that
          the legal rent should include the  cost  of  renovations  to  the
          subject-apartment that were completed immediately  prior  to  the
          occupancy of the complainant's mother in  November, 1985.   At  a
          total cost of $4,365.33, they accounted  for  nearly  the  entire
          amount  of  the  overcharges  determined  by  the  Administrator.
          Furthermore, the petition continues,  the  imposition  of  treble
          damages  was  improper  because  the  Division  of  Housing   and
          Community Renewal (DHCR) has frequently  found  that  overcharges
          due to the failure to prove the actual cost  of  improvements  is
          not willful.  Enclosed with the petition are documents  referring
          to the claimed renovations, including invoices  and  rent  ledger
          sheets from the owner's records.

          The tenant responds that the owner has failed to prove  that  the
          improvements were ever performed, and that all overcharges should 
          be considered willful  because  the  owner  had  no  grounds  for
          believing that it was charging the legal rent.

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

          The record in this case establishes  that  the  owner  failed  to
          submit the complete rent history, including documentation of  the
          improvements  to  the  subject-apartment  that   were   allegedly
          completed during the vacancy  period  prior  to  the  lease  term
          commencing  November  15,  1985.   Moreover,  the   documentation
          submitted with the petition  cannot  be  considered.   The  owner
          fails to assert  any  reason  for  its  failure  to  submit  this
          material into the record below and, as such, it  is  inadmissible
          on appeal.  It is also noted that the material that the owner did 
          submit  below  never  even  made   mention   of   these   alleged
          improvements, and the Administrator had no reason to be aware  of
          them.  Since the record below contains no  basis  for  concluding
          that  the  overcharges  were  not  willful,  the  Administrator's
          determination to impose treble damages was proper.

          This order may, upon the expiration of the period  in  which  the
          owner may institute a proceedi g  pursuant  to  Article  Seventy-
          Eight of the Civil Practice 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, in accordance with  the  Rent  Stabilization  Law  and
          Code, it is

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











          FH 610311 RO
          ISSUED:
                                                  ------------------------
                                                  JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                  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