RA Improperly Applied HSTPA Amendments Retroactively
LVT Number: #31334
Tenant complained in 2017 of rent overcharge and unlawful deregulation of her apartment. The DRA ruled for tenant in February 2020, found that she was rent stabilized, and ordered landlord to refund over $77,000, including triple damages.
Landlord and tenant both appealed. Landlord objected to the DRA's retroactive application of HSTPA's six-year lookback period and extended triple damages provision to the overcharge claim, which was filed before June 14, 2019. The DHCR agreed with landlord since New York's highest court had revoked such retroactive application in the 2020 case of Regina Metropolitan v. DHCR. The DHCR reduced the overcharge refund to $60,000.
Landlord also argued that the apartment was deregulated but submitted no leases or rent ledgers to confirm the rent registered from 2007 to 2009 or that the apartment was exempt from regulation due to the registered $2,000 legal regulated rent and $1,800 preferential rent in 2007. The DRA reasonably set the base rent at the rent amount paid by tenant on the base date.
Landlord also argued that tenant's complaint should be treated as a fair market rent appeal. But tenant complained of improper deregulation. So the DHCR can review pre-base date rent records concerning the high-rent vacancy deregulation.The fact that the DHCR requested records for the first tenant following rent control didn't mean that tenant was actually filing an FMRA.
The DHCR denied tenant's PAR. Tenant's claim that there was a fraudulent scheme to deregulate the apartment was unsupported by any proof.
Cooper/Forsyth Owner LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket Nos. IO410012RT, IO410046RO (3/25/21) [10-pg. doc.]
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