Landlord Proved Cost of Apartment Improvements
LVT Number: #21028
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DRA ruled against tenant, finding no overcharge. Among other increases, the DRA added 1/40th of the cost of improvements landlord had made to the apartment before tenant moved in. Tenant appealed, claiming that the DRA should have disallowed the 1/40th increases. Tenant pointed out that some of the work was done by landlord's building super. Tenant also claimed that rewiring work was done by landlord's brother. Tenant's architect submitted a statement acknowledging that most of the items listed as being installed by the super and landlord's brother were installed. He found some discrepancies as to the amount of square footage of wood flooring and the number of cabinets installed. He also stated that the quality of the work was low grade and that there were some possible building code violations in connection with the work. Tenant's architect estimated the cost for material and labor for the work should be $17,400.
The DHCR ruled against tenant. Landlord submitted proof of significant apartment improvements after prior long-term tenant had moved out. Landlord submitted invoices and canceled checks documenting the cost of $23,556. Landlord wasn't required to do improvements at the cheapest cost, and the estimate by tenant's architect wasn't that different from landlord's claimed cost. In addition, landlord had submitted to the DRA requested documentation that the super worked on the apartment separate from his other job duties and was paid separately. As to landlord's brother, tenant's own expert confirmed that he did the rewiring work and didn't challenge the expenses claimed in connection with that work.
Chira: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WI410008RT (12/9/08) [5-pg. doc.]