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
Policy Statement 95-1 (December 6, 1995)
Rent Overcharge Awards When The Tenant Has Vacated The
Apartment Without leaving a Forwarding Address (revised 93-4)
This Statement replaces Policy Statement 93-4, issued October 4, 1993.
Effective immediately, with the exception noted below for funds now on
deposit in DHCR's escrow account, Policy Statement 93-4 is rescinded.
On January 5, 1995, Governor Pataki signed Executive Order No. 2, ordering
a moratorium on proposed rules and regulations. Excessive rules and
regulations have unduly burdened the State's economy, and imposed needless
costs on the business and citizens of the State. To achieve regulatory
reform, the Governor directed all state agencies to evaluate existing and
proposed rules or regulations, and to identify for modification, rescission
or withdrawal, those that are more demanding than is required to meet
Policy Statement 93-4 was issued as an explanatory statement of general
policy and procedure, pursuant to DHCR's authority under the Emergency
Tenant Protection Regulations, as adopted under the Emergency Tenant
Protection Act, and the Rent Stabilization Code. It established additional
procedures, considered necessary at the time, to further implement the
enforcement provisions of those regulations, with relation to rent overcharge
awards, where complaining tenants had vacated their apartments without
leaving a forwarding address.
Pursuant to law and regulation, tenants who are charged and pay rents in
excess of those which are lawful, and who file complaints with DHCR,
are provided with two methods of recovering any overcharge penalty
established by the DHCR. A tenant in occupancy of the subject apartment
when the overcharge award is issued may either offset up to 20% of the
amount of the award per month against the lawful rent due, or if no rent
credit has been taken, file the order awarding the penalties with a court
of competent jurisdiction, and seek enforcement of the order in the same
manner as a court judgement. Although the remedy of offset is not available
to a tenant who vacates the subject apartment prior to the issuance of the
award, that tenant may, nevertheless, have the order entered as a judgement,
and seek its enforcement accordingly.
Policy Statement 93-4 sought to address situations where tenants who have
filed overcharge complaints, vacate their apartments while the complaint is
still pending, not only neglecting to notify DHCR of a change in address,
but also failing to leave a forwarding address on file with the Post Office.
The Office of Rent Administration (ORA) has scrutinized these procedures
pursuant to the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order. In addition,
the limited utility of Policy Statement 93-4 since its issuance more than
two years ago, and the fact that the implementation thereof has required
the dedication of staff time to an extent unwarranted by the amount of funds
claimed by tenants, have led ORA to conclude that such procedures are in
fact not beneficial to these tenants. The escrow procedures therefore are
inconsistent with the purpose of the Executive Order, and represent an
unnecessary administrative burden, especially where vacating tenants, by
not furnishing DHCR with a forwarding address, have in effect abandoned
their overcharge claims. It should be noted that the discontinuance of
the escrow procedures will not deprive such tenants of their rights under
the law to recover overcharge awards.
Funds that are on deposit in DHCR's overcharge escrow account as of the
issuance date of this Policy Statement, shall remain on deposit until
claimed by the tenant named in the overcharge award, or be disposed of
pursuant to the appropriate provisions of State law.
Paul A. Roldan
Deputy Commissioner for Rent Administration
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
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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