Court Upholds Validity of Code Amendments
LVT Number: 6971
Facts: The Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), a landlord's organization, challenged various 1987 amendments to the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC). Among other things, CHIP challenged the validity of the RSC amendment deleting the former Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) RSC. CHIP claimed that the old RSC should have continued to the extent that it wasn't inconsistent with law. Second, CHIP challenged the code provision giving pass-on rights to family members when a tenant permanently vacates the apartment. CHIP claimed that this impaired landlord's rights under the sublet and assignment laws because landlord couldn't reject the new tenant. Third, CHIP challenged the code provision making a current landlord liable to tenants for all overcharges occurring on or after April 1, 1984---even if the current landlord didn't collect these overcharges. Fourth, CHIP challenged the code's requirement that MCI applications be filed within two years after completion of the work. Fifth, CHIP challenged the harassment provisions of the amended code, claiming that it expanded the definition of harassment and the time limits in which tenants can make harassment claims. Court: First, the DHCR was authorized to abolish the old code and prepare a new one as long as it was consistent with the rent stabilization law. Second, assignment or sublet laws concern roommates or strangers---not family members---so the pass-on rights of the rent stabilization law don't contradict any provision of the other laws. Third, the rent stabilization law doesn't prohibit the current landlord from being held responsible for overcharges collected by former owner. It's also reasonable to put the burden on the purchasing landlord to protect itself by getting rent history records for the building or by putting a protective clause in the sales contract. Fourth, there's no conflict between the rent stabilization law and the RSC on the MCI filing limitations---even though the law doesn't place limits on when applications must be filed. Fifth, the DHCR has broad authority to oversee harassment complaints, and landlord rights aren't impaired by the amended code.
Community Housing Improvement Program v. NYS DHCR: NYLJ, p. 26, col. 1 (4/28/93) (Sup. Ct. Queens; Golar, J)