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DHCR Overcharge Status from Final Review back to Active

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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DHCR Overcharge Status from Final Review back to Active

Postby kka123 » Fri May 03, 2019 11:17 am

Has anyone had their case switch from "Final Review" back to "Actively Processing"? My complaint has been going on since 2016, and in early 2019 it finally changed to "Final Review." But now, a few months later it is back to active.

Also, my request for records will suddenly cost me $50. I have not had to pay in the past to get the contents of my file. Is this a new policy? They provided a number where I can make an appointment to view the file in person, but no one picks up and it will not allow me to leave a voicemail.

Any insight here would be greatly appreciated!
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Re: DHCR Overcharge Status from Final Review back to Active

Postby TenantNet » Fri May 03, 2019 11:43 am

That happened to me within the last few years. The only way to really see what's going on is to FOIL the entire case file and make sure you state you want access to the "Progress Sheet," and also state that you need to see the progress sheet in order to prepare your case. Otherwise DHCR often removes the sheet from the file.

The sheet might tell you what happened to the case, i.e., what letters were sent out, to whom and what letters were received. It might also tell you who within DHCR has the file in their possession for any given moment. However, in my experience DHCR is pretty loose with making those entries.

More importantly, the progress sheet will most likely not tell you WHY it went from Final Review back to Active Processing.

I tend to think it's often a case where the person who is doing the actual case processing gets to the near-end of the case, then some supervisor comes along who thinks the result is too favorable to the tenant and tells them to go back to the beginning, or to make certain changes.

It's like Attorney General William Barr telling Robert Mueller that he didn't like the outcome (in that case, he simply lies about it).

DHCR case processing is very political and in out experience - 30+ years - some supervisors in various units are very much pro-landlord and have shown themselves to making decisions that are legally dubious.

As for the FOIL request and the $50 fee, you should read up on how FOIL works. Any agency can charge you $0.25 per page for copies. However...

1. Make sure you ask for "inspection" in your request, not for copies. You can then go to the FOIL office in your borough and make your own copies. I used to bring a portable scanner and plug it into a laptop that I brought along. If they give you grief on that, stand your ground and contact the Committee on Open Government (that oversees FOIL).

2. These days I just take photos of each page using my smart phone. Take several photos of each page in case it's out of focus or jiggled. Use an app called CamScanner to convert the pages into PDFs. (there are several apps out there, but I've used that one).

So I would cancel or amend the current FOIL request and ask to inspect the case file. They don't always like that, but you have that right.

You can also ask for the file to be sent to you electronically as PDF files. When I request case orders, they email them to me in PDF format. I don't know if they do that for thick case files, but you can ask.

Finally, if you're in court, some documents might need to be certified as true copies of originals. Ask them how they do that.

You can email the main FOIL office at orarecords@NYSHCR.ORG - and yes, a real person does receive those. You can also contact the Director of the FOIL unit, Ms. Stacey Payton.

You also said there was a phone number where no one picks up. What Borough? What's the name and number on the sheet? (could be further reduction in personnel - that is Cuomo's doing).
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