New York Rent Laws
RSL Table of Contents

NYC Rent Stabilization Law of 1969

Sec. 26-516. ENFORCEMENT AND PROCEDURES. a. Subject to the conditions and limitations of this subdivision, any owner of housing accommodations who, upon complaint of a tenant, or of the state division of housing and community renewal is found by the state division of housing and community renewal, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard, to have collected an overcharge above the rent authorized for a housing accommodation subject to this chapter shall be liable to the tenant for a penalty equal to three times the amount of such overcharge. If the owner establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the overcharge was not willful the state division of housing and community renewal shall establish the penalty as the amount of the overcharge plus interest. (i) Except as to complaints filed pursuant to clause (ii) of this paragraph, the legal regulated rent for purposes of determining an overcharge, shall be the rent indicated in the annual registration statement filed four years prior to the most recent registration statement, (or, if more recently filed, the initial registration statement) plus in each case any subsequent lawful increases and adjustments. (ii) As to complaints filed within ninety days of the initial registration of a housing accommodation, the legal regulated rent shall be deemed to be the rent charged on the date four years prior to the date of the initial registration of the housing accommodation (or, if the housing accommodation was subject to this chapter for less than four years, the initial legal regulated rent) plus in each case, any lawful increases and adjustments. Where the rent charged on the date four years prior to the date of the initial registration of the accommodation cannot be established, such rent shall be established by the division. Where the rent charged on the date four years prior to the date of initial registration of the housing accommodation cannot be established, such rent shall be established by the division provided that where a rent is established based on rentals determined under the provisions of the local emergency housing rent control act such rent must be adjusted to account for no less than the minimum increases which would be permitted if the housing accommodation were covered under the provisions of this chapter. (1) The order of the state division of housing and community renewal shall apportion the owner's liability between or among two or more tenants found to have been overcharged by such owner during their particular tenancy of a unit. (2) Except as provided under clauses (i) and (ii) of this paragraph, a complaint under this subdivision shall be filed with the state division of housing and community renewal within four years of the first overcharge alleged and no award of the amount of an overcharge may be based upon an overcharge having occurred more than four years before the complaint is filed. (i) No penalty of three times the overcharge may be based upon an overcharge having occurred more than two years before the complaint is filed or upon an overcharge which occurred prior to April first, nineteen hundred eighty-four. (ii) Any complaint based upon overcharges occurring prior to the date of filing of the initial rent registration as provided in section 26-517 of this chapter shall be filed within ninety days of the mailing of notice to the tenant of such registration. (3) Any affected tenant shall be notified of and given an opportunity to join in any complaint filed by an officer or employee of the state division of housing and community renewal. (4) An owner found to have overcharged may be assessed the reasonable costs and attorney's fees of the proceeding and interest from the date of the overcharge at the rate of interest payable on a judgment pursuant to section five thousand four of the civil practice law and rules. (5) The order of the state division of housing and community renewal awarding penalties may, upon the expiration of the period in which the owner may institute a proceeding pursuant to article seventy- eight of the civil practice law and rules, be filed and enforced by a tenant in the same manner as a judgment or not in excess of twenty percent thereof per month may be offset against any rent thereafter due the owner. b. In addition to issuing the specific orders provided for by other provisions of this law, the state division of housing and community renewal shall be empowered to enforce this law and the code by issuing, upon notice and a reasonable opportunity for the affected party to be heard, such other orders as it may deem appropriate. c. If the owner is found by the commissioner: (1) to have violated an order of the division the commissioner may impose by administrative order after hearing, a civil penalty in the amount of two hundred fifty dollars for the first such offense and one thousand dollars for each subsequent offense; or (2) to have harassed a tenant to obtain vacancy of his or her housing accommodation, the commissioner may impose by administrative order after hearing, a civil penalty for any such violation. Such penalty shall be in the amount of up to one thousand dollars for a first such offense and up to twenty-five hundred dollars for each subsequent offense or for a violation consisting of conduct directed at the tenants of more than one housing accommodation. Such order shall be deemed a final determination for the purposes of judicial review. Such penalty may, upon the expiration of the period for seeking review pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules, be docketed and enforced in the manner of a judgment of the supreme court. d. Any proceeding pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules seeking review of any action pursuant to this chapter shall be brought within sixty days of the expiration of the ninety day period and any extension thereof provided in subdivision h of this section or the rendering of a determination, whichever is later. Any action or proceeding brought by or against the commissioner under this law shall be brought in the county in which the housing accommodation is located. e. Violations of this law, or of the code and orders issued pursuant thereto may be enjoined by the supreme court upon proceedings commenced by the state division of housing and community renewal which shall not be required to post bond. f. In furtherance of its responsibility to enforce this law, the state division of housing and community renewal shall be empowered to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, conduct investigations, make inspections and designate officers to hear and report. The division shall safeguard the confidentiality of information furnished to it at the request of the person furnishing same, unless such information must be made public in the interest of establishing a record for the future guidance of persons subject to this law. g. Any owner who has duly registered a housing accommodation pursuant to section 26-517 of this chapter shall not be required to maintain or produce any records relating to rentals of such accommodation for more than four years prior to the most recent registration or annual statement for such accommodation. h. The state division of housing and community renewal may, by regulation, provide for administrative review of all orders and determinations issued by it pursuant to this chapter. Any such regulation shall provide that if a petition for such review is not determined within ninety days after it is filed, it shall be deemed to be denied. However, the division may grant one extension not to exceed thirty days with the consent of the party filing such petition; any further extension may only be granted with the consent of all parties to the petition. No proceeding may be brought pursuant to article seventy-eight of the civil practice law and rules to challenge any order or determination which is subject to such administrative review unless such review has been sought and either (1) a determination thereon has been made or (2) the ninety day period provided for determination of the petition for review (or any extension thereof) has expired.


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