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. HE510028RO
: DRO DOCKET NO.GG510424R
R.P.N. Management Co., Inc. TENANT:Lourdes Martinez
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On May 19, 1993, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a Petition
for Administrative Review against an order issued on April 15,
1993, by the Rent Administrator concerning the housing
accommodations known as 81 Cabrini Boulevard, New York, New York,
Apartment No. 51, wherein the Rent Administrator terminated the
proceeding, based on the withdrawal by the tenant on April 8, 1993,
of her complaint of rent overcharge.
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 rent overcharge
complaint by the tenant in July, 1992. The owner was served with
a copy of the tenant's complaint and submitted a response thereto.
By letter dated March 4, 1993, the tenant requested withdrawal of
her complaint. The owner, in a letter dated March 25, 1993,
opposed the tenant's withdrawal request.
Following confirmation of the tenant's instructions, the DHCR
granted the tenant's request, and terminated the proceeding based
on the tenant's withdrawal on April 15, 1993.
In this petition for administrative review, the owner asserts,
among other things, that the order terminating the proceeding was
inappropriate following "joinder", that under Section 3217 of the
Civil Practice Law and Rules, (CPLR) once an answer to a complaint
has been interposed, a discontinuance may only be obtained by a
stipulation between the parties, or by leave of court; and that the
Administrator's order was prejudicial, since, among other things,
it denied the owner the benefit of a DHCR determination which,
being a fair market rent appeal, would not carry a potential treble
damages penalty. The owner contends that the tenant is merely
forum-shopping in wishing to pursue her counter-claim of rent
overcharges in a non-payment proceeding instituted against the
tenant by the owner, and states that the DHCR is the proper forum
to adjudicate this proceeding.
The tenant, in response to the owner's PAR, submitted a photocopy
of one of the documents she submitted in the Court proceeding, in
which she asserts, among other things, that the Court has
concurrent jurisdiction with the DHCR.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that the owner's petition for
administrative review should be denied, and that the order of the
Administrator should be affirmed.
Regarding the CPLR Section cited by the owner, the Commissioner
notes that, whereas the CPLR governs court proceedings, the State
Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) governs administrative
proceedings such as the instant case. Section 117 of SAPA states,
in pertinent part, that whether by provision of statute or by
judicial decision, it is a general rule that, even in the exercise
of judicial or quasi-judicial powers, administrative agencies are
not bound by the technical or formal rules of procedure which
govern trials before a Court.
DHCR policy generally allows tenants to withdraw pending complaints
prior to issuance of an order by the Administrator. An Owner may
not compel the DHCR to render a determination on the merits of a
complaint filed by a tenant which the tenant wishes to withdraw.
Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator was
correct in terminating the proceeding based on the tenant's
withdrawal of her complaint.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
ORDERED that this petition for administrative review be, and the
same hereby is, denied.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA