STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          ------------------------------------X    SJR6958
          APPEAL OF                                DOCKET NO. GB110375RO
             20 Mott Place Corporation        :    DRO DOCKET NO.ZEA110373R
                                                   TENANT; Laverne Eubanks
                               PETITIONER     :


          On February 14, 1992, the above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          January 31, 1992 by the  Rent  Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall
          Street, Jamaica, New York, concerning the  housing  accommodation
          known as 20 Mott Place, Apartment  1D,  Far  Rockaway,  New  York
          wherein the Administrator determined that an overcharge had  been
          collected and directed the owner to refund overcharges of $415.60 
          inclusive of excess security and treble damages.

          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 in the administrative appeal.

          This proceeding was commenced on January 29, 1990 when the tenant 
          filed a complaint of rent overcharge in which the  tenant  stated
          that the owner was requesting an increase of $254.12 per month.  In 
          answer to the complaint, the owner stated that instead of  making
          repairs, with the tenant's consent, it had made major renovations 
          at a $10000.00 cost.  Once the work had been completed, the tenant 
          objected to the rent  increase.   The  owner  included  with  its
          response a copy  of  the  tenant's  written  consent  and  signed
          statement,  verifying  that   the   work   had   been   completed
          satisfactorily, as  well  as  cancelled  checks  and  a  detailed
          contract, specifying the work to be done and its  cost.   By  its
          answer, the owner indicated a misunderstanding of DHCR regulations 
          in that it believed (incorrectly) that it could not collect a rent 
          increase for the improvements until it had received approval from 
          the Division.

          In reply, the tenant asserted that the owner had been compelled to 
          make repairs because of outstanding violations but that she had not 
          consented to  a  rent  increase  for  the  alleged  improvements.
          Although she had signified satisfactory completion  of  the  work
          done, some work had not been done at all and some had  been  done
          very poorly.

          In the order here under review, denying the owner a rent increase 
          for improvements because the tenant denied consent and because the 
          owner continued to accept rent payments without taking into account 
          the rent increase for improvements, the Administrator  determined
          that an overcharge had occurred based on the owner's collection of 
          an inccorrect guideline adjustment and directed the owner to refund 
          $415.60 in overcharges inclusive of excess  security  and  treble

          In its appeal, the owner contends that the overcharge found by the 
          Administrator was due to an inadvertent miscalculation and should 
          not be considered willful.  The owner further  contends  that  it
          should be permitted to collect  a  rent  increase  for  apartment
          improvements which it failed to collect because the tenant refused 
          to sign a renewal lease with the increase until it was approved by 
          the DHCR and because the consent form signed by the tenant stated 
          that the rent increase would not take effect until DHCR  approval
          had been granted.

          The tenant contends that the finding of willful overcharge should 
          be sustained, that there were no improvements but that there were 
          court ordered repairs for which the owner should not be permitted 
          a rent increase.

          After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of  the  opinion
          that this petition should be granted.

          Pursuant to Section 2522.4(a)(1) of the Rent Stabilization Code, an 
          owner is entitled to a rent  increase  where  there  has  been  a
          substantial increase of dwelling space  or  an  increase  in  the
          services, or installation of new equipment or improvements provided 
          in or to the tenant's housing  accommodation  on  written  tenant
          consent to the rent increase.  A rent increase  based  upon  this
          Section of the Code does not require prior DHCR approval. 


          Review of the record reveals that the documentation, an  executed
          contract, cancelled checks and written tenant consent confirm that 


          the owner complied with the Division's requirements  pursuant  to
          Code Section 2522.4(a)(1).  The contract with payment verified by 
          cancelled checks show that far more than repairs was accomplished. 
          With the exception of a medicine cabinet , the  tenant  certified
          that all work was done.   

          Accordingly, the Commissioner find that the owner is entitled to a 
          rent increase for these improvements.  The Commissioner notes that 
          the owner never willingly waived the right to this rent increase, 
          specifically reserving said right in the lease renewal form dated 
          October 1, 1990 and covering the period January 1,  1991  through
          December 31, 1992.  The evidence of record shows that the  owner,
          having spent $10,000.00 on improvements, was entitled to  a  rent
          increase equal to 1/40th of the cost or $250.00 per  month.   The
          Commissioner finds therefore, that the $10.39  collected  by  the
          owner beginning January 1, 1991 is not an overcharge but represents 
          a portion of the rent increase to which the owner is entitled.  The 
          owner may begin to collect the  additional  increase  of  $239.61
          ($250.00 - $10.39) prospectively on the first rent  payment  date
          after the issuance date of this order and opinion.

          The owner is directed to  make  any  and  all  necessary  repairs
          including repairs or provision of a new medicine cabinet  or  the
          tenant may file for a rent reduction based upon  a  reduction  in
          required services.

          The owner  is  further  directed  to  reflect  the  findings  and
          determinations made in this  order  on  all  future  registration
          statements, including those for the current year if  not  already
          filed, citing this Order as the basis for the change.  Registration 
          statements already on file, however, should  not  be  amended  to
          reflect the finding and determinations made in this 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 granted, and 
          the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, revoked 
          and it is found that no rent overcharge occurred.


                                                  JOSEPH    A.     D'AGOSTA
                                                  Deputy Commissioner



TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name