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 
      IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
      APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.:GA 210006-RO
                                          :  
          2002 REALTY CORP.                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                             DOCKET NO.:DI 210240-R
                            PETITIONER    : 
      ------------------------------------X  TENANT: Rene Mejia         

            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

      On December 31, 1991, the above-named owner filed a Petition for 
      Administrative Review against an order issued by a Rent Administrator on 
      November 27, 1991, concerning the housing accommodations known as 2002 
      Avenue J, Brooklyn, New York, Apartment 4C, wherein the Administrator 
      determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.

      The administrative appeal is being determined pursuant to Section 2526.1 of 
      the Rent Stabilization Code.

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

      This proceeding originated on September 15, 1985, when the tenant filed a 
      complaint of rental overcharge; the complaint stated that the owner was 
      charging additional rent for improvements that had not been made.

      The owner responded with copies of the leases for the subject apartment, 
      and of bills for improvements.  

      The tenant submitted a copy of a letter dated September 13, 1989, written 
      to the owner on his behalf, complaining that those improvements had not 
      been made, and stating that the increase attributed thereto would 
      thenceforth be deducted from the rental payments.  The tenant also 
      submitted a letter written to the DHCR on his behalf dated October 31, 1991 
      in which it was stated that the improvements had been made in 1990.

      In ensuing order (here appealed), the Administrator found that the tenant 
      had been overcharged from the time he took occupancy.  In her calculations 
      the Administrator made the aforementioned increase for improvements 
      effective January 1, 1990, stating that the equipment involved had not been 
      installed until that year.  The Administrator also trebled the overcharge 
      to be refunded.

      In this petition the owner alleges in substance: that the basis for the 
      rental increase therein is clearly stated in the rider to the tenant's 
      first lease; that the tenant's rights were outlined for him when he signed 
      the lease; there was never an intention to overcharge him; and that "[a]ny 









          DOCKET NUMBER: GA 210006-RO
      discrepancies that arose leading to the base rent being reduced by this 
      order was unintentional and not willful.  I hereby request that the treble 
      damages be waived."

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

      It does not matter that the bases for improvement-related increases may 
      have been "clearly listed" in the initial lease of 1988; what the 
      Administrator determined is that because the improvements were not made 
      until 1990, the tenant was to that extent overcharged starting in 1988.  
      Since petitioner does not dispute the finding as to when the improvements 
      were made, there is no basis for disturbing the overcharge computation 
      herein.

      The remaining issue concerns treble damages.  Such damages are the norm, 
      the exception to their imposition being when the owner establishes before 
      the Administrator, that the overcharges were not willful.  Here, 
      petitioner's mere assertion that any overcharge was unintentional, does not 
      establish lack of willfulness.  Accordingly, the Rent Administrator's order 
      was warranted.

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

      ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is denied, and the Rent 
      Administrator's order affirmed.  The total overcharge through October 31, 
      1991 is $4,028.47, and the lawful rent as of that date, $465.44.

      ISSUED:







                                                                    
                                           JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                       Acting Deputy Commissioner




                                                    
    

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