GD410129RO


                                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. GD410129RO

                                          :  DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
           Earvin Brodie,                    DOCKET NO. EH510140R
                                            
                                             TENANT: Dominique Jean-Louis     
                     
                            PETITIONER    : 
      ------------------------------------X                             


           ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                         

      The above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition for Administrative 
      Review against an order issued on October 10, 1991, by the Rent 
      Administrator concerning the housing accommodations known as 509 West 
      155th Street, New York, New York, Apartment No. 2A, wherein the Rent 
      Administrator determined that the owner had overcharged the tenant.

      By order issued on May 20, 1992, the Commissioner dismissed the owner's 
      petition as untimely filed.

      The owner thereafter requested reconsideration of the Commissioner's May 
      20, 1992 order and submitted proof of timely filing of the petition.  By 
      order issued on July 9, 1992, the Commissioner granted reconsideration 
      on the basis that the owner's petition was timely filed and reopened the 
      proceeding. 

      The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the provisions 
      of Section 2522.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code.

      The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator's order was 
      warranted.

      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 commenced by the filing of a complaint of rent 
      overcharge by the tenant on August 6, 1990.

      The tenant took occupancy pursuant to a lease commencing September 1, 
      1989 and expiring August 31, 1991, at a monthly rental of $621.00.  The 
      owner was served with a copy of the tenant's complaint and was requested 
      to submit rent records to prove the lawfulness of the rent being 
      charged.







          GD410129RO


      During the processing of the tenant's complaint, the owner made several 
      submissions in support of his allegation that he was charging less than 
      the legal rent.  Among the items submitted were the following: the lease 
      commencing September 1, 1986, which included the consent of the tenant 
      to a rent increase for $31.00 for a new refrigerator, sink and stove; 
      the owner's calculation of the rent, stating that the bases of the rent 
      increases were as follows: as of April 1, 1987, a vacancy allowance plus 
      guidelines increase, plus a new stove, new refrigerator, new windows; 
      for the October 1, 1988 rent increase, a vacancy allowance plus 
      guidelines increase, plus apartment door, new bathroom, new stove and 
      refrigerator, plus new light fixtures; for the October 1, 1989 rent 
      increase, a vacancy allowance plus guidelines increase.  The owner 
      stated that the rent had recently been reduced to $600.00.

      Additional documents submitted by the owner included a Ranger 
      Construction bill dated April 28, 1989, to supply and install 77 
      windows: $13,000.00; a receipt for a Dime Savings Bank Cashier's Check 
      payable to Ranger Construction: $10,480; a photocopy of the owner's 
      personal check payable to Ranger Construction: $3,000.00; a July 1988 
      statement from the owner, for various items including retiling bathroom 
      walls and floor, new stove and sink, new entrance door, installation of 
      seven windows and screens performed by B. Santana: $6,405.00; a June, 
      1988 statement from the owner for various items, including a new door, 
      kitchen floor, and bathroom retiling performed by B. Santana; and leases 
      commencing in 1988 and 1989.

      On August 23, 1991 a final notice was sent to the owner of the 
      imposition of treble damages, in which the owner was informed that he 
      had failed to adequately substantiate the cost or installation of 
      improvements and new equipment.  The owner did not respond.   
      Subsequently the tenant submitted photocopies of payments he had made to 
      the owner along with a lease renewal form for the period August 31, 1991 
      through August 31, 1993.  The tenant stated, among other things, that no 
      improvements had been made nor new equipment installed by the owner 
      prior to or during his occupancy.

      In her order, the Administrator established the legal regulated rent; 
      denied the rent increase for new equipment based on the owner's failure 
      to document the cost or installation of the claimed items; and 
      determined that the tenant had been overcharged a total of $14,363.91, 
      including treble damages.

      In his petition, the owner contends, in substance, that the Rent 
      Administrator should have granted a rent increase based on the 
      improvements made to the subject apartment.


      With his petition, the owner submits, among other things, the following 
      documents: a listing of new equipment and improvements to the apartment, 
      which does not specify the dates these items were installed; a 
      typewritten list of improvements billed and paid between May 2, 1988 and 
      November 3, 1988; and invoices and checks not previoulsy submitted, 
      including an invoice in the amount of $1057.66 for a sink and stove 
      furnished to another apartment in the subject building and a check in 
      the amount of $1199.77 allegedly in payment thereof.

      The Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.


          GD410129RO


      Section 2522.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code states, in pertinent part, 
      that an owner is entitled to a rent increase where there has been an 
      installation of new equipment or improvements provided in or to the 
      tenant's housing accommodation, on written tenant consent to the rent 
      increase.  In the case of vacant housing accommodations, tenant consent 
      shall not be required.

      The Commissioner has carefully reviewed the record and finds that 
      although several of the work items submitted constitute improvements, 
      e.g., new stove and new sink; entrance door; seven windows, they were 
      not documented adequately to warrant rent increases under Section 2522.4 
      of the Code.

      Following are several of the inadequacies in the documentation:
      For the items allegedly installed in 1987, including the stove, windows, 
      and refrigerator, the Commissioner notes that the owner has submitted no 
      documentation of any work being done at that time; moreover, he submits 
      an invoice for building-wide window installation in 1989, while also 
      submitting a July, 1988 statement for seven windows for this apartment 
      as a completed (and compensable) improvement.  Additionally, the owner's 
      documentation indicates installation of a new stove and new refrigerator 
      in the subject apartment three times within three years.  The 
      Commissioner notes that an increase for new equipment, even if 
      adequately documented, is available only once during that equipment's 
      useful life.  

      The owner submitted two statements for work allegedly performed by a B. 
      Santana.  Many of the enumerated work items, including sheetrock and 
      floor finishing work, constitute routine maintenance and repair.  In 
      addition, the statements submitted by the owner fail to meet the 
      criteria for acceptable evidence of expenses; the statements bore 
      neither a letterhead nor company name of a contractor, and appear to be 
      the owner's own memoranda.  Prices for the same items conflict; i.e., 
      each statement lists many identical items, but with different prices, as 
      having been performed; and the only indication that B. Santana is a 
      contractor is the owner's allegation.   In addition, checks allegedly in 
      payment of these improvements do not show payment in full for the work 
      performed. 

      It is noted that newly submitted documentation cannot be considered for 
      the first time on administrative appeal, but that in any event such 
      documentation submitted by the owner relates to ordinary maintenance or 
      repairs. 


      Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that increases for equipment and 
      improvements have not been adequately substantiated, and should be 
      denied.

      THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is

      ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and, 
      that the order of the Administrator be, and the same hereby is, 
      affirmed.










          GD410129RO

      ISSUED:




                                                                    
                                      JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                      Deputy Commissioner
    

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