DHCR FACT SHEET #23
Division of Housing and Community Renewal

FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR OWNERS


Q. WHAT IS A FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT?

Local Law 20 (1980) amended the Rent Control Law to permit rent
adjustments based on the changes, up or down, in the price of
heating fuels. Beginning in 1981, and for subsequent years, the
rent adjustment is based on fuel price changes between the
beginning and end of the prior year.

Q. WHO IS COVERED BY THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT LAW?

Only rent controlled apartment tenants and owners are covered by
this law.

Q. WHAT ARE THE FUEL COSTS ADJUSTMENT FILING REQUIREMENTS?

Building owners must certify that they are maintaining essential
services and that it has been at least 1 2 months prior to filing
that DHCR ordered a rent restoration for any reduction in rent
for failure to provide heat and hot water or other essential
services . Buildings that have not qualified for Maximum Base
Rent increases can be eligible for fuel cost adjustments.

To obtain the adjustment, the owner must complete, certify and
serve upon each eligible tenant, a copy of DHCR's official
Owner's Report, Certification, and Notice of fuel Cost Adjustment
Eligibility [DHCR form RA-33.10], together with Schedule A, where
applicable . The owner must file with DHCR a master copy of the
Report, together with Schedule A where applicable, and a schedule
of monthly rent increases for all the rent controlled tenants
served with copies of the Report. The rent adjustment is
collectible when the tenant and DHCR are served with the
completed Report forms and schedules. No order from the Rent
Administrator is required.

Q. CAN THE OWNER COLLECT THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT FROM A TENANT
WHOSE MAXIMUM COLLECTIBLE RENT (MCR) EQUALS OR EXCEEDS THE
MAXIMUM BASE RENT (MBR) FOR THE APARTMENT?

Yes, however, the owner must certify that the property will not
be yielding an 8 1/2% return on the equalized assessed value
after receiving rent increases for the fuel cost adjustment.

Q. HOW IS THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT COMPUTED?

The quantity of fuel delivered during the previous year is
divided by the number of rooms in the building, not to exceed the
annual maximum consumption standard per room for the type of fuel
used. This figure is then multiplied by the price change, divided
by 12 months and multiplied by 75%. Seventy-five percent (75%) of
the annual fuel cost per room is passed along to the tenant.

Q. CAN AN OWNER WHO FAILED TO FOR FUEL COST ADJUSTMENTS FOR PAST
YEARS, TILE ON FUTURE ADJUSTMENTS?

Yes, an owner may file for future fuel cost adjustments, however,
the past fuel cost adjustments are forfeited.

Q. CAN AN OWNER WHO FAILED TO FILE IN 1989 FOR A FUEL COST
ADJUSTMENT, FILE IN 1990 FOR THE 1989 ADJUSTMENT?

No. To get a rent increase based upon price changes that occurred
in 1988, the owner had to fib in 1989. If the owner did not file
in 1989, the fuel cost for 1989 is forfeited.

Q. DO FUEL COST ADJUSTMENTS GRANTED IN 1989 TERMINATE AT THE END
OF 1989?

No. These increases continue to be collectible, unless modified
or revoked by order of the Rent Administrator. Any fuel cost
adjustment for 1989 must be added to or subtracted from the 1980
through 1988 adjustments, known as the cumulative monthly rent
adjustments.

Q. IS THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT RETROACTIVE?

Fuel cost adjustments are retroactive to January 1st of each year
provided the owner files the Report within 60 days after the fuel
consumption and price change standards are released. For reports
filed with DHCR after the 60 day period, the increase is
prospective. Where an owner has obtained one or more fuel cost
increases previously and the cost of fuel decreases in a
subsequent year, the owner must file a timely report and decrease
the tenants fuel cost adjustment or the entire fuel cost
adjustment will be suspended for that 12 month period.

Is there a penalty If an owner does not file a Fuel Cost
Adjustment Report when the cost of fuel decreases?

Yes When the cost of fuel decreases, the owner must tile a timely
Report and pass the decrease on to the tenants. Failure to serve
the tenants and DHCR within 60 days after the fuel consumption
and price change standards are released will result in the
suspension and revocation of all previous fuel increases for a
period of 12 months.

Q. IS THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT INCORPORATED IN THE RENT FOR AN
APARTMENT?

No. The law states that the fuel cost adjustment is not to be
incorporated in the rent on which Maximum Base Rent increases are
computed.

Q. CAN THE REPORT BE CHALLENGED IF A TENANT HAS REASON TO BELIEVE
THAT THE FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT REPORT IS NOT ACCURATE OR TRUTHFUL?

Yes, a tenant has the right to challenge, based on any known
error, omission, or misrepresentation on the Report form or any
attachments. The tenant should first contact the owner and
attempt to resolve the disagreement. If differences remain, the
tenant has 33 days after receipt of the Report to file the
TENANT'S CHALLENGE TO LANDLORD'S REPORT AND CERTIFICATION OF FUEL
COST ADJUSTMENT AND ELIGIBILITY [DHCR form RAC-2202.13].

Q. WHAT IS THE PENALTY IF DHCR FINDS THAT AN OWNER FALSIFIED A
FUEL COST ADJUSTMENT REPORT?

The law prescribes a penalty for false certification:

A refund of fuel cost increases collected in 2 prior years, plus
ineligibility for future cost adjustments for 2 succeeding years
from the date of the determination that a false certification was
made. Other penalties and sanctions of the law may also be
imposed.

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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
DHCR.

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
are public documents; the electronic version of such documents
have been developed by TenantNet and any added value, enhancements
and/or proprietary features are copyright 1994, 1995 and 1996 by
TenantNet. These documents may be freely distributed provided they
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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
(718) 739-6400

Bronx
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 563-5678

Brooklyn
250 Schermerhorn St.
3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-9246

Lower Manhattan
156 William Street
9th Floor
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below

Upper Manhattan
163 W. 125th St.
5th Floor
NY, NY 10027
(212) 961-8930
North side of 110th St. and above

Staten Island
350 St. Mark's Place
Room 105
Staten island, NY 10301
(718) 816-0277

Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 481-9494

Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 948-4434

Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
(914) 425-6575

Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
(518) 432-0596

Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-1382

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