DHCR Reasonably Determined That Landlord Didn't Overcharge Tenant
LVT Number: #31996
Tenant complained to the DHCR of rent overcharge and improper deregulation of her apartment. The DHCR ruled against tenant, who filed an Article 78 proceeding for judicial review of the DHCR's decision. The court ruled against tenant, who appealed and lost. The appeals court ruled that the DHCR's finding that the apartment wasn't rent stabilized was rational. Landlord performed work on the apartment about eight years before the tenant filed her overcharge complaint, and the apartment then became deregulated through high-rent vacancy before tenant moved in. Landlord maintained records of individual apartment improvements (IAIs), which demonstrated that work was done. Given landlord's submissions to the record, and given tenant's own statement in her complaint that renovations were done before a prior tenant moved in, it wasn't arbitrary and capricious for the DHCR to draw upon its own expertise and resources to determine that $28,127 wasn't an inordinate expenditure to renovate an apartment when it became vacant for the first time in at least 21 years. The claimed insufficiency of the IAIs didn't constitute an indication of fraud. And tenant was given copies of landlord's submissions to the DHCR and given the opportunity to respond. And it was up to the DHCR whether to order a hearing or to conduct inspections.
Haskin v. DHCR: Index No. 150661/20, App. No. 15594, Case No. 2021-01233, 2022 NY Slip Op 02064 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 3/24/22; Kern, JP, Moulton, Rodriquez, Pitt, Higgitt, JJ)