DHCR Can Accept Late Income Certification from Tenant
LVT Number: 13806
Facts: In 1995, landlord applied for high-rent/high-income deregulation of tenant's apartment. Tenant filed a response on time to the notice of landlord's application, stating that her household income was below the deregulation threshold. While landlord's 1995 application was still pending, landlord filed another annual deregulation application in 1996. Tenant was away on vacation and didn't file a response until late October 1996, 71 days after the DHCR sent the notice of landlord's application. In November 1996, the DHCR denied landlord's 1995 application. But the DHCR granted landlord's 1996 application based on tenant's failure to respond within 60 days. Tenant appealed and lost. The court found that the DHCR's strict application of the rent stabilization law's 60-day deadline was reasonable. Tenant appealed again, and the appeals court ruled for tenant. DHCR and landlord then appealed to New York's highest court. Court: The DHCR and landlord lose. The DHCR has the authority to accept late responses from rent-stabilized tenants certifying that their household income is below the statutory threshold for high-rent/high-income deregulation. The case was sent back to the DHCR for consideration of the reasons why tenant's response was filed late. The court said that late responses could be accepted if there was good cause. The court also considered two related cases. In Sudarsky v. DHCR, tenant claimed that he mistakenly sent his response to landlord instead of to the DHCR. The court sent the case back to the DHCR to consider whether there was good cause for tenant's late response. In Seymour v. DHCR, tenant waited five months to answer the notice of landlord's application. The court found that the DHCR reasonably ruled against tenant in that case.
Dworman v. DHCR: NYLJ, p. 26, col. 1 (12/22/99) (Ct. App.; Kaye, CJ, Bellacosa, Smith, Levine, Ciparick, Wesley, Rosenblatt, JJ)