GA 610292 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 610292 RO
: DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
Ralph Langsam Associates, DOCKET NO. ZCI 610140 R
TENANT: Allen A. Epps
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On January 28, 1992, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition
for Administrative Review against an amended order issued on November
13, 1991 and reissued January 7, 1992, by the Rent Administrator,
92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing
accommodations known as 3940 Bronx Boulevard, Bronx, New York, Apartment
No. 6L, 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 September 15, 1988. The owner was
served with a copy of the tenant's complaint. The owner stated in
substance that it was entitled to the vacancy and other allowances
provided in Rent Guideline Board Order #18 (hereafter RGBO) above the
prior rent of $314.96 which were used in the calculation of the tenant's
vacancy lease rent of $374.79 and that there was no overcharge.
In Order Number ZCI 610140 R, the Rent Administrator established the
lawful stabilized rent as $372.48 effective June 15, 1987, determined
that the tenant had been overcharged and directed a refund to the tenant
of $407.68 including treble damages on overcharges collected on and
after April 1, 1984.
The order, originally issued on November 13, 1991 addressed only to the
owner (Nora Association), was amended on January 17, 1992 and addressed
GA 610292 RO
to the Managing Agent for the receiver (Ralph Langsam Associates).
In this petition, the owner contends in substance that they are the
managing agent for the court appointed receiver and have only managed
the subject premises since May 8, 1990; the rents collected were
obtained from the courts and therefore the overcharge should not be
considered willful; treble damages are not warranted and the rent has
now been reduced in compliance with the Rent Administrator's amended
order which was first served on them January 17, 1992. Along with the
petition, the owner sent a copy of the Court order appointing the
receiver issued May 8, 1990.
In answer to the owner's petition, the tenant stated in substance that
he objects to the owner's petition and does not understand why DHCR
allowed the owner to collect the 7.5% vacancy allowance and
supplementary allowance of $15.00 thereby reducing the overcharge from
$5,000.00 to $407.68. Further, he had informed the Rent Administrator
on January 18, 1991 of the new managing agent and its address.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be denied.
Section 2526.1(a)(1) of the Rent Stabilization Code provides that any
owner who is found by the DHCR to have collected an overcharge shall be
liable to the tenant for treble damages unless the owner establishes by
a preponderance of the evidence that the overcharge was not willful, in
which case interest shall be imposed. Section 2526.1(a)(1) also
provides that treble damages shall be applied only to overcharges
occurring on or after April 1, 1984.
In the instant case, the managing agent for the receiver, as well as the
owner were apprised of this proceeding and the possibility of the
imposition of treble damages by the Rent Administrator prior to the
issuance of the order, yet submitted no evidence to refute the
presumption that the overcharge was willful. It is noted that this
overcharge was not caused by a failure to produce rent records at a
judicial sale so that the legal regulated rent could not be established.
Both the owner and the managing agent for the receiver have failed to
documents that it ceased collection of the overcharge or made a refund
to the tenant after being notified of the tenant's complaint.
Neither does the overcharge result from any hypertechnical error
specified in DHCR Policy Statement 89-2 on Treble Damages.
With regard to the tenant's objections stated in their response to the
owner's petition, the Commissioner notes that the Rent Administrator
correctly applied the increase, vacancy and supplementary allowances
provided by RGBO #18 in calculating the lawful stabilized rent for the
tenant's vacancy lease commencing June 16, 1987 and subsequently
correctly computed the overcharge.
Accordingly, treble damages were correctly imposed and the Rent
Administrator's order was warranted.
Because this determination concerns lawful rents only through
November 30, 1991, the owner is cautioned to adjust subsequent rents to
an amount no greater than that determined by the Rent Administrator's
GA 610292 RO
order plus any lawful increases, and to register any adjusted rents with
this order and opinion being given as the explanation for the
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,
not in excess of twenty percent per month thereof of the overcharge 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
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