New York State
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
Office of Rent Administration
Gertz Plaza, 92-31 Union Hall St.
Jamaica, New York 11433
Public Information: (718)739-6400



This policy statement is being issued to publicize a recent
change in DHCR's policy concerning the duty of a current owner of
a housing accommodation subject to the New York City Rent
Stabilization Law to refund excess rent determined by DHCR in an
order resolving a tenant's Fair Market Rent Appeal ("FMRA") where
one or more prior owners collected all or a portion of the excess
rent. This change in policy was occasioned by the Appellate
Division's decision in *Polanco v. Higgins.*

Section 2522.3(d) of the Rent Stabilization Code provides that
where DHCR determines in an order resolving a FMRA that a tenant
paid rent that exceeds the fair market rent, DHCR shall order the
affected owner to refund the excess rent to the tenant and to the
extent the current owner is liable for all or part of the refund,
allow the current owner to credit against future rents any refund
owed to the tenant. If the refund exceeds the total rent due for
six months, the tenant, at his or her option, may continue to
take a credit or request a refund of the balance outstanding.

Pursuant to the decision in *Polanco v. Higgins* and for the
reasons stated therein, where a current owner is a party to a
FMRA, DHCR shall order the current owner to refund to the tenant
all excess rent paid by the tenant since April 1, 1984 or the
commencement date of the tenant's initial lease, whichever is
later, notwithstanding that all or a portion of the excess rent
was collected by one or more prior owners.

This policy modifies DHCR's prior practice of ordering the
current owner to refund only the excess rent that the current
owner actually collected. Now, a current owner will be jointly
liable with a prior owner for excess rent collected by a prior
owner and each owner will remain severally liable for the excess
rent collected by each owner. This policy statement is not
intended to change the refund obligation of a current owner who
purchases at a judicial sale in accordance with Section 2526.1(f)
of the Rent Stabilization Code or any other rule that would
require apportionment in a rent overcharge case.

DHCR shall consider a current owner to be a party to a FMRA if
one of the following events occurs before the issuance of a Rent
Administrator's order resolving the FMRA:

1)  DHCR serves the current owner with a copy of the FMRA and
    affords the current owner an opportunity to file an answer;

2)  whether or not DHCR serves a copy of the FMRA on the current
    owner, the current owner files an answer to the FMRA; or

3)  the current owner, after purchase of the building, fails to
    notify DHCR of the change of ownership as required by Section
    2523.8 of the Code, and DHCR serves the prior owner with a
    copy of the FMRA at the address given in the last filed
    registration and at the address specified by the tenant in
    the FMRA, if the address specified by the tenant is different
    from the address specified by the prior owner on the last
    filed registration statement.

August 20, 1993

Joseph A. D'Agosta
Deputy Commissioner

DHCR Policy Statements are **promulgated** (i.e., officially
issued) by the New York State Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR) and represent **official** policy of the agency.

The agency is generally obligated to follow the policy contained
in these and other documents or provide a rational for deviation;
failure to follow the law, policy or practice may form the basis
for an appeal. Electronic versions of the 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 is advised to obtain true copies of
these documents from DHCR. Also see DHCR Advisory Opinions,
DHCR Operational Bulletins, the Rent Stabilization Code, the Rent
Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.

Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Policy
Statements 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
remain intact as herein presented, including this and the top
informational banner referencing TenantNet as the original provider.

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

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

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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