Credit Against Future Rent Not Overcharge Refund
LVT Number: #20279
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. Landlord claimed that it made apartment improvements, costing $42,000, before tenant moved into the apartment. In response to tenant's complaint, landlord acknowledged that there was some overcharge between June 2001 to August 2004 due to a mistake in calculating a rent increase. Landlord said that it was applying a credit of $14,000 to tenant's account for this period. Tenant disputed landlord's claimed improvements. The DRA ruled for tenant, finding that there was an overcharge of $28,500, including triple damages and interest. This amount also included a deduction of $8,500 for rent owed from September 2004 to February 2007. Landlord appealed, claiming that there was no willful overcharge. Landlord said that tenant accepted the rent credit from landlord by not paying rent for a number of months, but then sought to undo the refund acceptance by paying the rent. The DHCR ruled against landlord. Giving tenant a credit against future rent didn't constitute a refund of an overcharge that would prove lack of willfulness and make triple damages inapplicable under DHCR Policy Statement 89-2. Landlord continued to accept rent payments from tenant during the claimed rent credit period.
O'Connell/PWV Acquisition, LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket Nos. VD410062RT, VD410041RO (1/2/08) [5-pg. doc.]