DHCR Must Consider Rent Listed in 1986 Registration
LVT Number: 14322
Facts: Tenant complained of a rent overcharge in 1989. Tenant's apartment was vacant from January 1985 until October 1986, when tenant moved in. The DHCR found that, under the Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1997, it couldn't look back more than four years before tenant's complaint was filed. And since tenant's apartment was vacant in 1985, there was no prior rent history to consider. The DHCR ruled against tenant, finding no overcharge. Tenant appealed. Court: Tenant wins. The DHCR hadn't considered the 1986 registered rent for the vacant apartment. The DHCR claimed that the 1986 registered rent for the vacant apartment was only an indication of when the stated rent was last paid. The DHCR said that it wasn't proof of the current rent four years before tenant's complaint was filed. The court found that the DHCR's interpretation of the 1986 registration was unreasonable. The DHCR can't ignore its own rent registration records as proof of an apartment's rent history. The court sent the case back to the DHCR to recalculate the rent history and any overcharge.
McCarthy v. DHCR: NYLJ, 7/12/00, p. 27, col. 3 (Sup. Ct. NY; Lippmann, J)