Court, Not DHCR, Should Decide Son's Claim
LVT Number: #20632
Facts: Rent-stabilized tenant remained as nonpurchasing tenant after co-op conversion of her building in 1980. Tenant died in 2007. Landlord, who owned the apartment, then sued to evict tenant's son from the apartment. Tenant's son claimed that he had pass-on rights. Landlord claimed that tenant's estate had surrendered the apartment and that her son had no right to remain. While the case was pending, tenant's son filed an application with the DHCR, asking the agency to rule that he had pass-on rights. Shortly after that, in January 2008, the court dismissed the case because landlord hadn't shown a valid surrender of the apartment by tenant's estate. But the court said that landlord could start the case over and made no ruling on the son's claim. The DRA then ruled that the court's decision gave tenant's son succession rights to the apartment. The DRA ordered landlord to give the son a renewal lease. Landlord appealed. In March 2008, landlord had started a second court case against tenant's son based on the court's first decision. Landlord argued that the DRA incorrectly interpreted the court's decision.
DHCR: Landlord wins. The court's January 2008 ruling didn't grant tenant's son pass-on rights. So the DRA's decision must be revoked. In addition, both the DHCR and the courts can decide the question of pass-on rights to rent-stabilized apartments. Since there already was a court case pending on this question, the court rather than the DHCR should decide the case.
AGBH Bel Air Rental, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WD120001RO (5/22/08) [3-pg. doc.]