No Triple Damages for Hypertechnical Error
LVT Number: 13529
Tenant complained of a rent overcharge. The DRA ruled for tenant, but didn't impose triple damages because there was no finding of a willful overcharge. Tenant appealed, claiming triple damages should apply. The DHCR ruled against tenant. In this case, the overcharges resulted from the limitation to no more than 50 percent of the last prior registered rent for vacancy leases entered into during the guidelines period between Oct. 1, 1991, and Sept. 30, 1992. Such a limitation hadn't been imposed in all prior guidelines, which had allowed vacancy increases up to the highest comparable rent. During that first year of the change in rules, landlord had mistakenly charged tenant the highest comparable rent. This was a hypertechnical error, rather than a willful rent overcharge.
Tibbs: DHCR Adm. Rev. Dckt. No. ID910026RT (5/13/99) [2-pg. doc.]