GA 210010 RO
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 210010 RO
: DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
DOCKET NO. ZDA 210456 R
TENANT: Myra Garcia
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On January 6, 1992, the above-named petitioner-owner timely re-filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on October
10, 1991, by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica,
New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 757 Miller
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, Apartment No. 3F, wherein the Rent
Administrator determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.
The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the provisions
of Section 2526.1 of the Rent Stabilization Code.
The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator's order was
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 January 30, 1989. Both the
current and prior owners were served with a copy of the tenant's
complaint but failed to submit responses thereto.
In Order Number ZDA 210456 R, the Rent Administrator established the
lawful stabilized rent as $233.01 effective August 1, 1988, determined
that the tenant had been overcharged and directed a refund to the tenant
of $2,555.82 including treble damages on overcharges collected on and
after April 1, 1984 and listed only the current owner in the order.
In this petition, the current owner contends in substance that the
building was purchased in October 1990 from the prior owner and the rent
changed was the rent set forth in the building rent roll prior to
purchase and the current owner's liability should be limited to rent
collected since the title transfer in October 1990.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be denied.
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An examination of the record in this case discloses that the Rent
Administrator properly served both the prior and current owners copies
of the tenant's complaint directing the submission of rental records for
the subject apartment from April 1, 1984 and notice of the possibility
of the imposition of treble damages. Neither the current nor the prior
owner submitted the rental records either below or on appeal.
With regard to the current owner's contention that the prior owner
should be held liable for overcharges, prior to October 1990, Section
2526.1(f) of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in pertinent part that
for overcharge complaints filed or overcharges collected on or after
April 1, 1984, a current owner shall be responsible for all overcharge
penalties, including penalties collected by any prior owner.
The Commissioner rejects the owner's contention that its liability is
limited due to the fact that it collected rents set forth in the rent
roll provided during the title transfer, as without merit.
It is a long standing DHCR policy that a new owner "steps into the
shoes" of the prior owner. Upon purchasing a rent-regulated property,
the new owner knew or should have known of its obligation to acquire a
complete set of rental records in order to verify that the rent
contained in the building's rent roll included with the transfer of
title were legal regulated rents and whether there were pending
complaints against those rents. Its failure to do so is insufficient
evidence to indemnify the current owners from liability.
Accordingly, the Rent Administrator's order was warranted and in the
instant case, the current owner, who purchased the subject premises in
October 1990 is liable for overcharges collected from August 1, 1988 as
stated in the Rent Administrator's order, inclusive of treble damages
and excess security. It is noted that due process requirements are
satisfied since the current owner, was served with a copy of the
tenant's complaint below, fully participated in the appeal proceeding
and failed to produce the required rental history from April 1, 1984 or
offer evidence challenging the substantive portion of the Rent
This order is issued without prejudice to any action the current owner
may have against the former owner as to the rent overcharges collected
by the former owner.
Because this determination concerns lawful rents only through
January 31, 1989, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rents to
an amount no greater than that determined by the Rent Administrator's
order plus any lawful increases, and to register any adjusted rents with
this order and opinion being given as the explanation for the
This order may, upon the expiration of the period in which the owner may
institute a proceeding pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law
and Rules, be filed and enforced in the same manner as a judgment or not
in excess of twenty percent per month thereof may be offset against any
rent thereafter due the owner.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabilization
Law and Code, it is
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ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and the same
hereby is, denied, and, that the order of the Rent Administrator be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
Acting Deputy Commissioner