GA 210020 RO


                                  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.:  GA 210020 RO

                                                DRO DOCKET NO.: DI 210411 R
                   LULA BELLE BRANCH,
                                                TENANT: DIANE ROBINSON       
                        
                                   PETITIONER    
          ------------------------------------X                             

            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW


          On January 10, 1992, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on      
          January 3, 1992, by a Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodations known as 393 Jerome Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 
          Apartment No. 6, 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 
          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 originally commenced by the filing of a rent 
          overcharge complaint by the tenant on September 26, 1989.  The 
          owner was served with a copy of the tenant's complaint and was 
          directed to submit a complete rental history. 

          The owner submitted a lease history commencing only with the 
          complainant's vacancy lease, effective September 5, 1987 and 
          indicated that the tenant's initial rent was calculated based 
          on a September 30, 1986 rent for the subject apartment of $275.00.  
          The owner stated that the leases of tenants who have vacated the 
          premises are thrown away.  The owner also submitted bills for 
          certain apartment improvements made during a prior tenancy and 
          prior to the occupancy of the complainant.













          GA 210020 RO

          In Order Number DI 210411-R, the Rent Administrator established the 
          lawful stabilized rent as $248.47 effective September 5, 1987, 
          determined that the tenant had been overcharged and directed a 
          refund to the tenant of $9,763.65, including treble damages.

          In this petition, the owner asserts that she never received a copy 
          of the tenant's complaint.  The owner details the lease history of 
          the tenants in occupancy since the 1985 registration.  According to 
          the owner's calculations, the complainant actually paid less than 
          the lawful rent in her vacancy lease, which would have been 
          $306.11.  The owner then admits to two subsequent overcharges, one 
          of which was refunded to the tenant (the owner does not specify the 
          amount), and a later one of $5.90 per month, which she states was 
          unintentional and should not result in treble damages.

          The tenant's answer is primarily concerned with many of the claimed 
          improvements to the apartment, which the tenant contends were much 
          delayed and poorly done.

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

          Section 26-516 of the Rent Stabilization Law, effective April 1, 
          1984, requires an owner to produce rent records for the period 
          commencing 4 years prior to the most recent registration.

          In the instant case, the owner could produce no leases earlier than 
          the complainant's vacancy lease, commencing on September 5, 1987, 
          which is only two years prior to the complaint of rent overcharge.  
          Accordingly, the Administrator properly granted no increases to the 
          1985 base rent (guidelines increases or improvement increases) 
          until the commencement of the complainant's tenancy.

          The Commissioner further finds that the owner's contention that 
          overcharges were not willful is not supported by any evidence in 
          the record.

          Regarding the owner's contention that she never received a copy of 
          the tenant's complaint, the record in this case indicates that the 
          owner was served with a copy of the tenant's complaint on October 
          27, 1989, and that the owner returned it to the DHCR along with her 
          answer to the complaint on the merits on November 10, 1989.

          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.










          GA 210020 RO


          THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is

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



          ISSUED



                                                                           
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner








    

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