STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
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
------------------------------------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
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
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.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
Acting Deputy Commissioner