DHCR FACT SHEET #16
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
COLLECTING OWNER'S OVERCHARGE IN RENT STABILIZED NYC APARTMENTS
The NYC Rent Stabilization Law provides two methods for tenants
to collect rent overcharge penalties from an owner. A tenant can
begin one of these actions after the NYS Division of Housing and
Community Renewal (DHCR) determines that the owner is subject to
a penalty for overcharging and the Rent Administrator has issued
an order to that effect.
The penalty in a rent overcharge is the amount an owner collected
above the legal regulated rent plus accrued interest, or in the
event of willful overcharge, the penalty equals three times the
amount of the overcharge.
A tenant can choose one, but not both, of these methods.
1. Offset Method
The tenant may deduct 20% of the penalty from the monthly rent
until they recover the overcharge. However, if 20% of the penalty
exceeds the tenant's monthly rent, the tenant may not pay any
rent until they recover the full amount of the refund due.
However, before exercising this option, the overcharged tenant
must wait 35 days from the issuance of the Rent Administrator's
order. During this period, any party to the order may tile a
Petition for Administrative Review DHCR form RAR-2] challenging
the correctness of the order.
The timely filing of a PAR by the owner will prevent the tenant
from offsetting any rent overcharges and penalties until the
Commissioner rules on the PAR, or an Article 78 court proceeding
(Civil Practice Law and Rules) makes a final determination of the
PAR overcharges and penalties.
The timely filing of a PAR against the Rent Administrator's
overcharge determination does not affect that part of the order
adjusting the tenant's legal regulated rent. Therefore, unless
the Commissioner specifically authorized otherwise, the tenant
may begin to pay the lower rent effective the rent payment date
following the issuance of the order.
2. Judgment Method
The filing of a judgment creates a lien against the owner's real
property, and if the owner does not satisfy the judgment, the
lien may be enforced against the owner's property by a County
Sheriff or the City Sheriff. To use this option, the penalty must
exceed $1,000, or if less, the tenant must have moved from the
apartment. Under this option, the tenant must also wait 35 days
for the PAR filing Period to expire.
After the 35 day PAR filing period expires, the tenant should
tile a Notice to Rent Stabilized Tenant Concerning Payment of
Penalties which Landlord has been directed to pay by an
Administrator's Order [DHCR form RN-14] along with the Judgment
[DHCR form RN14.1]. Both are included with the overcharge order.
The tenant must first send this form to the DHCR
Docketing/Screening Section at 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica,
NY, 11433. DHCR will then certify that the owner has not
initiated a PAR or instituted a proceeding for judicial review,
or, if instituted, these proceedings have concluded. Upon such
certification, the tenant must fill out the affidavit contained
in the DHCR form RN-14 stating that they have not OFFSET against
the rent any part of the penalty. (Method 1 above).
The tenant must file the forms and a certified copy of the
overcharge order with the County Clerk's office in the County
where the property is located. The County Clerk's Office will
docket the judgment when they receive the papers.
The refund of any overcharge, including penalties, collected on
or after April 1, 1984 is the obligation of the present owner.
for complaints filed and overcharges collected before April 1,
1984, refunds and penalties are the obligation of the owner who
collected the overcharge.
DHCR Fact Sheets (series of thirty) are issued by the New York
State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) as plain-
english informational publications. For official agency
policies, see DHCR Policy Statements, Advisory Opinions and
Operational Bulletins. Also refer to the Rent Stabilization Code,
the Rent Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.
Electronic versions of these documents on TenantNet are for
informational purposes only and there is no guarantee they will
be accepted by any court (or even DHCR) as true copies of DHCR
policy. The reader may obtain true copies of these documents from
Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Fact
Sheets as issued by DHCR; TenantNet makes no
representation the enclosed material is current or will be
applied as written. The reader is advised that DHCR often fails
to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws. Since
housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is
recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a
tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or
community group. (rev. 3/13/96) DHCR documents
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For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent Infoline
at (718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough Rent Office.
Queens Central Office
92-31 Union Hall St. 4th Fl.
Jamaica, NY 11433
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
250 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
156 William Street
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below
163 W. 125th St.
NY, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above
350 St. Mark's Place
Staten island, NY 10301
Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203