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. GD410129RO
: DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
Earvin Brodie, DOCKET NO. EH510140R
TENANT: Dominique Jean-Louis
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that increases for equipment and
improvements have not been adequately substantiated, and should be
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,
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA