Landlord Needn't Submit Rent Histories of Comparable Apartments
LVT Number: 9878
Facts: Tenant complained of a rent overcharge in February 1984. Landlord received and answered the complaint in September 1984. Four years later, the DRA notified landlord that tenant's complaint would be treated as a fair market rent appeal. Tenant had moved into the apartment in 1979 and was the first stabilized tenant of the previously rent-controlled apartment. By 1988, when the DRA changed the status of the complaint, landlord had no 1979 comparability data concerning the rents of other similar apartments. Because of this, the DRA reduced tenant's first stabilized rent from $450 to $240 and directed a refund of over $25,000. Landlord appealed. The DHCR ruled against landlord. Landlord appealed to the court. Court: Landlord wins. The Omnibus Housing Act of 1984 became effective on April 1, 1984, and provided that landlord needn't produce records going back more than four years for any apartment for which a complaint wasn't already pending. In light of the new law and the DHCR's delays in processing the complaint, it was unreasonable to make landlord produce the comparability data demanded or face a severe rent reduction. The case was sent back to the DHCR to set a reasonable fair market rent.
Powers Associates v. DHCR: 626 NYS2d 662 (1995) (Sup. Ct. NY; Ramos, J)