Docket No. FF 610569-RT
                                    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. FF 610569-RT 

                                                  DISTRICT RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
          Lynn Friedman and Dennis P. Friedman    NO. DH 610244-R 
           
                                   PETITIONER
          ------------------------------------X


          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN 
          PART


              On June 19, 1991, the above-named tenants timely filed a 
          petition for administrative review of an order issued on April 16, 
          1991 by a Rent Administrator concerning the housing accommodations 
          known as the Basement Apartment, 3253 Cambridge Avenue, Bronx, New 
          York.

              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 petition for review.

              This proceeding was commenced by the subject tenants filing a 
          rent overcharge complaint, dated August 17, 1989.

              The complainants first took occupancy on August 17, 1966, at a 
          monthly rent of $76.62.

              The Administrator's order under review herein stated that:

               A review of records of file in this office revealed that 
               there is currently a proceeding pending under Docket No. 
               BC-000163-AD to establish the correct Maximum Collectible 
               rents for all housing accomodations in the subject 
               building.  Accordingly these proceedings have been 
               consolidated, and a decision will be rendered under 
               docket No. BC-000163-AD.  Both owner and tenant will be 
               further advised.

              The subject tenants' petition asserts, among other things, that 
          in the proceeding pending under Docket No. BC-000163-AD the 
          Administrator is to establish the maximum rents for the subject 












          Docket No. FF 610569-RT

          building's rent-stabilized apartments as the landlord's membership 
          in the Rent Stabilization Association was terminated; that the 
          subject tenants assert that as they have been rent-controlled 
          tenants in the subject building since 1966 their proceeding should 
          not be consolidated with the above-mentioned proceeding pending 
          under Docket No. BC-000163-AD; that consolidating the subject 
          tenants' proceeding with Docket No. BC-000163-AD may prejudice the 
          tenants' "rights to treble damages for the wilful and knowing 
          overcharges collected in excess of the legal registered rent," and 
          that there are still existing orders issued by the Courts and the 
          rent agency finding that there were a diminution of services in the 
          subject premises.

              The tenants' petition also asserts that any excess rent paid by 
          them should be fully credited "against rent accruing after the date 
          of the order."

              After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion 
          that the tenants' petition should be granted in part.

              The record reflects that on November 16, 1978 the New York City 
          Conciliation and Appeals Board (C.A.B.), the agency formerly 
          charged with enforcement of the Rent Stabilization Law, issued an 
          order under Docket No. 25602, terminating the landlord's membership 
          in the Rent Stabilization Association (a quasi-governmental agency 
          which participated in regulating stabilized apartments, pursuant to 
          the Rent Stabilization Law, prior to April 1, 1984), as to the 1st 
          floor apartment of the subject building, for failing to comply with 
          the directives of two prior C.A.B. orders, and referred that 
          proceeding to the Department of Housing Preservation and 
          Development (the govermental agency which regulated rent control 
          apartments prior to April 1, 1984) "to subject the apartment to 
          control under the provisions of the City Rent Control Law."

              The Commissioner notes that the proceeding to establish the 
          maximum rent of the 1st floor apartment, based on the above- 
          mentioned C.A.B. order, was assigned Docket No. 2AD20536.

              The Commissioner further notes that the aforementioned Docket 
          No. BC-000163-AD was terminated by an Administrator's order, issued 
          on August 26, 1985, in which it was noted that the rent agency's 
          records reflected that on December 3, 1982, in the proceeding under 
          Docket No. 2AD20536, the 1st floor apartment was recontrolled 
          effective December 1, 1978.

              As the Administrator's order under review herein determined 
          that the tenants' overcharge complaint should be consolidated with 
          Docket No. BC 000163-AD, and that the record reflects that Docket 
          No. BC 000163-AD has been terminated, the Commissioner finds that 
          the Administrator's order should be revoked.

              The record reflects that the rent agency has already 






          Docket No. FF 610569-RT

          established the subject tenants' maximum rent, and has determined 
          the issue of rent overcharge in the proceeding under Docket No. 
          BC 000005-AD issued on November 26, 1984.  The Administrator in the 
          above-mentioned order determined that the subject apartment's 
          maximum collectible rent (MCR) effective July 1, 1976 was $105.66 
          per month; that the MCR effective January 1, 1978 was $113.58 per 
          month; that the MCR effective January 1, 1979 was $115.15 per 
          month; that the MCR effective June 22, 1984 was $159.16 per month, 
          and that the MCR effective July 6, 1984 was $210.55.  The 
          Administrator in the above-mentioned order also directed, "that all 
          rent collected in excess of the maximum rent fixed or established 
          by this order during the period beginning no earlier than two years 
          prior to October 10, 1984 shall be refunded to the tenant within 30 
          days after this order shall become final together with 6% interest 
          from the date of each successive payment of rent."

              The record further reflects that the above-mentioned order 
          (Docket No. BC 000005-AD) was modified by an Administrator's order 
          issued on March 9, 1988, under Docket No. BG 620044-RP, which 
          determined that the landlord may collect an additional $15.00 per 
          month for garage space, and the Administrator reiterated that the 
          MCR effective as of July 6, 1984 was $210.55 per month.

              The Commissioner notes that the subject landlord filed a 
          petition for administrative review of the Administrator's order 
          (Docket No. BG 620044-RT), and that on August 30, 1988 the 
          Commissioner issued an order dismissing the above-mentioned 
          petition,  under Docket No. CF 620077-RO.

              Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator's 
          orders under Docket Nos. BC 000005-AD and BG 620044-RP are final 
          determinations of the rent agency.  Pursuant to these above- 
          mentioned orders, the Commissioner finds that the tenants' maximum 
          rent effective as of July 6, 1984 is $210.55 per month and that the 
          landlord is eligible to collect $15.00 per month for garage space.

              The record further reflects that the rent agency on August 26, 
          1985 issued an order, under Docket No. 6M R5, which determined that 
          the subject landlord was eligible for a 1984-1985 Maximum Base Rent 
          increase, effective on October 1, 1984.  The Commissioner notes 
          that the above-mentioned order increased the tenants' maximum rent 
          to $226.34 per month, effective October 1, 1984.

              The record further reflects that the rent agency did not grant 
          the subject landlord increases for the building's maximum base rent 
          for the 1986-1987 period and for the 1988-1989 period.
              The Commissioner notes that on July 17, 1989 the Administrator 
          issued an order, under Docket No. CD 610409-S, reducing the subject 
          tenants' maximum rent by $5.00 per month, effective on the first 
          rent payment day following the issue date of this order, due to the 
          Administrator's finding that there were a diminution of services in 
          the subject building.  












          Docket No. FF 610569-RT


              The Commissioner notes that the subject landlord filed a 
          petition for administrative review of the above-mentioned order 
          (Docket No. CD 610409-S), and that on October 4, 1989 the 
          Commissioner issued an order dismissing the above-mentioned 
          petition, under Docket No. DH 610361-RO.

              Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the subject tenants' 
          maximum rent, effective on August 1, 1989, is $221.34 per month 
          ($226.34-$5.00).

              The Commissioner notes that the Administrator's order, under 
          Docket No. CD 610409-S, did not determine whether the diminution of 
          services in the subject building was an essential or a non- 
          essential service.  The Commissioner further notes that the rent 
          agency's Policy Statement (90-1) states that when there is a rent 
          reduction order for failure to maintain services for rent 
          controlled apartments that is still in effect, which does not 
          distinguish between a failure to provide an essential or a non- 
          essential service, the landlord is barred from collecting any 
          subsequent MCR increases, until an order has been issued restoring 
          the rent.

              The record reflects that the rent agency has not restored the 
          subject tenants' rent, and that the order issued under Docket No. 
          CD 610409-S is still in effect.

              Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the subject landlord, 
          as of August 1, 1989, may not collect rent in excess of $221.34 per 
          month from the subject tenants until the rent agency issues an 
          order restoring the rent.  The Commissioner is of the opinion that 
          the subject landlord may continue to collect $15.00 per month from 
          the subject tenants for garage space.

              As to the tenants' claim of being entitled to treble damages 
          for the amount of excess rent that was collected by the landlord, 
          or the tenants' assertion that they should receive credit toward 
          future rents equal to the amount of excess rent that was collected 
          by the landlord, the Commissioner is of the opinion that these 
          above-mentioned penalties can be assessed only by a court of 
          competent jurisdiction when, as in this proceeding, the tenants 
          that have been overcharged are subject to rent control, pursuant to 
          Section 2206.8 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations.

              THEREFORE, in accordance with the City Rent and Rehabilitation 
          Law and the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is

              ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted 
          in part, in accordance with this Order and Opinion, and that the 
          Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, revoked, and it 
          is







          Docket No. FF 610569-RT

              FURTHER ORDERED, that the maximum rent of the subject 
          apartment, effective August 1, 1989, is $221.34 per month, and it 
          is

              FURTHER ORDERED, that the maximum rent of the subject apartment 
          shall not be increased until the rent agency issues an order 
          restoring the rent that was reduced under Docket No. CD 610409-S, 
          and it is

              FURTHER ORDERED, that the subject landlord may continue to 
          collect $15.00 per month from the subject tenants for the use of 
          the garage space.  

          Note:  The tenants may bring an action against the landlord in any 
          court of competent jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 2206.8(a)(2) 
          of the Rent and Eviction Regulations, within one year after the 
          landlord fails to pay any refund which is owed to the tenants.  The 
          one year time period is to be calculated from when the order 
          becomes final.  If there is not Article 78 petition of this order, 
          then the time period is one year after this order becomes final.

          ISSUED:



                                                                            
                                             Joseph A. D'Agosta
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner    






    

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