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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 APPEAL
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO. GE 510056 RT
Rosa Aquino, DISTRICT RENT OFFICE
DOCKET NO. ZDE 510432-R
ORDER AND OPINION REMANDING PROCEEDING ON APPEAL
On May 7, 1992 the above-named petitioner filed an appeal against
an order issued on April 10, 1992 by the Rent Administrator of the
rent office located at 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, New York
concerning the housing accommodations known as 507 West 184th
Street, New York, New York, Apt. No. 3, wherein the proceeding was
terminated on the basis of an alleged withdrawal by the tenant.
The proceeding was commenced by the filing by the tenant of a
complaint of rent overcharge in May 1989. The tenant took
occupancy pursuant to a lease commencing February 1, 1976 at a
monthly rental of $195.00.
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. In response to a Division notice of a penalty
of treble damages, the owner in March 1992 wrote that it had, on
November 4, 1991, mailed the Division a photocopy of a signed,
notarized letter from the tenant withdrawing the complaint.
The Administrator mailed a photocopy of the owner's submission to
the tenant, requesting confirmation of the tenant's withdrawal of
the complaint. Based on the tenant's failure to respond, the
Administrator terminated the proceeding as a withdrawal.
The tenant's petition for administrative review contains an
affidavit stating that she neither reads, writes, nor speaks
English; that she brought DHCR correspondence to a neighborhood
Community Law Office for translation; and that she never signed a
statement discontinuing her claim. The tenant further affirms that
the only document that she signed in November 1991 was an agreement
to pay $9.00 each month for a replacement for her stove, and that
present at that signing was an employee of the owner who translated
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the conversation. No notary public was present at this meeting.
The tenant further contends that the withdrawal letter submitted by
the owner is a fabrication.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that this proceeding should be
remanded to the Rent Administrator.
Section 2520.13 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in
An agreement by the tenant to waive the benefit of any
provision of the Rent Stabilization Law or this Code is
void; provided, however, that based upon a negotiated
settlement between the parties and with the approval of
the DHCR, or a court of competent jurisdiction where a
tenant is represented by counsel, a tenant may withdraw,
with prejudice, any complaint pending before the DHCR.
The Commissioner finds that the tenant's purported withdrawal
submitted by the owner fails to fulfill the requirements of Section
2520.13 of the Rent Stabilization Code. Such withdrawal
constitutes as waiver by the tenant of her rights under the Rent
Stabilization Law and Code and is therefore void. This proceeding
must therefore be remanded to the Administrator for processing de
novo. On remand, additional evidence may be solicited or a hearing
may be held, if warranted, regarding the tenant's allegation that
the withdrawal letter submitted by the owner is a fabrication.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent
Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that this appeal be and the same hereby is granted to the
extent of remanding this proceeding to the Rent Administrator for
further processing in accordance with this order and opinion, and
that the order of the Rent Administrator be and the same hereby is
Joseph A. D'Agosta
Acting Deputy Commissioner
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