Landlord Attempted to Refund Overcharge
LVT Number: 15252
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant and found that the overcharge was willful. Landlord appealed, claiming that there should be no triple damages. Landlord had mailed tenant a full refund by certified mail within three months of receiving notice of tenant's complaint from the DHCR. Tenant refused to accept the mailed check. Landlord made one more personal attempt to refund the overcharge, but tenant refused. The DHCR ruled for landlord. Landlord's attempted refund showed the overcharge wasn't willful. DHCR Policy Statement 89-2 states that to avoid a finding of willfulness, landlord should refund the overcharge within 30 days of the DHCR's notice of the complaint. But the DHCR will consider other cases, such as this one, where the refund was offered a little later.
Tarna Corp.: DHCR Adm. Rev. Dckt. No. NJ210025RO (7/10/01) [3-pg. doc.]