STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
          ------------------------------------X  SJR 7343                     
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.HG410176RT
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO.HF410012RP
          SAMUEL MORELL                                        CL410003AD    

                                PETITIONER    :  OWNER:  Eighty-First Assoc. 


               On July 29, 1993, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on July 
          9, 1993, by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, 
          Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 
          519 East 81st Street, New York, Apartment No. D wherein the 
          Administrator declined to determine a rent overcharge but determined 
          that the issue had been resolved in a previously issued order.

               The Administrative Appeal is being determined pursuant to the 
          provisions of Section 2529 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 issues  raised by the administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was commenced on December 22, 1988 when the 
          tenant requested a determination of the legality of the room count 
          in the subject apartment and a further determination of the legality 
          of the rent being charged.  In an order issued on May 8, 1990, the 
          Administrator denied the tenant's request based upon the DHCR's lack 
          of jurisdiction.  Subsequently, the tenant filed a Petition for 
          Administrative Review (hereinafter PAR) against the order.  In an 
          order issued on May 27, l993, under Docket Number EF410006RT, the 
          Commissioner determined that the Administrator had erred in denying 
          jurisdiction and ordered that the proceeding be remanded for 
          consideration of the tenant's overcharge complaint.  On remand, the 
          Administrator was directed to determine the merits of the tenant's 
          complaint of rent overcharge.
               On July 9,1993, the Administrator issued the order, here under 
          review,  pursuant to  the above referenced Order of Remand, 
          affirming an order issued on March 24, 1987 under docket L3114632R 
          which had established the lawful stabilization rent for the subject 
          apartment and found a rent overcharge of $31.57 through January 


                In his appeal, the tenant contends that the Administrator 
          erroneously determined that the issues raised by the tenant had been 
          resolved when the issues had not even been considered in the 
          previous order.  Moreover, the issues raised could not have been 
          considered at that time because the information required to make the 
          allegation was not known until after the order had been issued.  
          Specifically,the tenant contends that due to an asbestos condition 
          in the DHCR building in 1987, he was unable to procure records which 
          would have provided the basis of an appeal of the order on which the 
          Administrator relies.  Furthermore, he had no knowledge at that time 
          that the owner had submitted a fraudulent rent history. Since the 
          issue of an illegal conversion and the collection of illegal 
          inflated rents were not previously determined, the tenant contends 
          that the proceeding should be remanded for a determination of the 

               In answer to the appeal, the owner contends that the tenant, 
          who did not file a PAR against the order which established the rent,  
          is barred by the doctrines of res judicata  and collateral estoppel 
          from relitigating the rent overcharge complaint.  The owner further 
          contends that the tenant's contention that an erroneous room count 
          caused an illegal rent to be collected should be rejected since the 
          tenant's initial rent was not contingent upon the number of rooms 
          but was set at a fair market level.  Many of the documents cited by 
          the tenant are public records which have always been available to 
          the tenant.  The tenant does not claim that he made any requests to 
          the DHCR to review agency records before or after he initiated the 
          overcharge complaint in 1984 or before his time to appeal the 1987 
          order had expired.  Finally, the owner contends that the tenant can 
          no longer challenge his initial rent because the 90 day time period 
          in which to contest the initial rent has long since expired.

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be 

               The doctrines of res judicata  and collateral estoppel are 
          designed to provide finality to litigation.  Under these doctrines, 
          a party is precluded from relitigating issues that were or could 
          have been determined in a previous proceeding.  The lawful 
          stabilized rent was established under Docket Number L3114632R on 
          March 24, 1987 in resolution of an overcharge complaint filed by the 
          tenant in March 1984.  The Rent Stabilization Code requires that a 
          PAR be filed within 35 days of the issuance of the Rent 
          Administrator's order.   Since the time for appealing that order has 
          long since expired, the rent established therein is final.  The DHCR 
          is bound by its prior determination establishing the rent; the 
          Administrator was limited by the legal principles of res judicata 
          and collateral estoppel to affirm the lawful rent.  Having failed to 
          appeal at the appropriate time, the tenant  cannot collaterally 
          attack that determination in this appeal.  Moreover, the tenant has 
          not demonstrated that he attempted to get documents or that his 
          production of these documents would have changed the Rent 
          Administrator's determination.  An examination of the record reveals 
          that the tenant was in possession of the Certicate of Occupancy for 
          the subject building while the earlier proceeding was pending.   Nor 
          has the tenant demonstrated that the rental history provided by the 
          owner was fraudulent.  In addition, the number of rooms in an 


          apartment is not relevant to an overcharge proceeding.  If the 
          tenant's contention is that the owner has now reduced the number of 
          rooms in the subject apartment, his remedy is to file an application 
          for a rent reduction due to a service decrease.  The Commissioner 
          finds that he is unable to reopen the earlier proceeding and that he 
          is bound by the rent set therein. 

               On February 14, 1994, the tenant submitted a supplement to the 
          PAR which, pursuant to Advisory Opinion 92-1, is not timely filed 
          and will not be considered herein.
               THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and Code, it is

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


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Deputy Commissioner




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