DHCR Properly Rejected Settlement
LVT Number: 6875
Facts: In 1982, rent-stabilized tenant complained of a rent overcharge. Twice before April 1984 the CAB asked landlord for rent history documentation. Landlord never sent proof of decontrol, even though landlord claimed the apartment was decontrolled in 1975. Tenant periodically sent letters asking about the status of her complaint. In 1987, tenant's complaint was still pending and the DHCR again asked landlord for the missing documents. Instead landlord sent the DHCR a letter signed by tenant stating that in exchange for a reduced rent and a new lease from landlord, she'd withdraw her complaint. Landlord never submitted all the rent records. In 1987 the DRA ruled that there was an overcharge, reduced tenant's rent, and directed a refund. Landlord appealed, based on tenant's withdrawal letter. The DHCR ruled that tenant never actually withdrew her complaint and that, under rent stabilization, tenant couldn't waive her rights anyway. Landlord appealed. Court: Landlord loses. Tenant never formally withdrew her complaint after signing the letter submitted by landlord. Tenant stated that landlord never gave her the rent cut or the new lease, so the terms of the settlement were never effective. Tenant also continued to ask about the status of her complaint after landlord submitted the settlement letter. Given this and the fact that tenant can't waive her rights under the rent stabilization code, the DHCR acted properly in rejecting the supposed settlement and finding a rent overcharge.
Matter of Michael M. Lee & Co.: NYLJ, p. 25, col. 5 (3/10/93) (Sup. Ct. Queens; Smith, J)