Tenant Claims She Didn't Get Income Verification Form
LVT Number: 13586
Facts: Landlord applied for high-rent/high-income deregulation of tenant's apartment in 1994 and again in 1995. In 1994, tenant returned the Income Certification Form to landlord, denying that her annual household income was greater than $250,000 for the years in question. Later that year, tenant answered DHCR's request for income verification on time. The DHCR ruled against landlord for the year 1994, finding that tenant's income was below the deregulation threshold. In 1995, tenant again returned the Income Certification Form to landlord and again stated that her income was below the threshold. Landlord submitted its deregulation application later in 1995. The DRA ruled for landlord because tenant never returned the Income Verification Form. Tenant appealed, claiming that she never got the form. The DHCR ruled against tenant, and she appealed. The court ruled for tenant and sent the case back to the DHCR to rule on the issue of whether tenant's income was greater than the threshold. DHCR and landlord appealed. Court: The case should go back to the DHCR, but not to consider the issue of tenant's income. The DHCR must reconsider whether the Income Verification Form was actually delivered to tenant. Although there is usually a presumption that the DHCR delivered a document that's in its files, there is a question in this case, given tenant's history of submitting promptly all forms related to landlord's deregulation applications. Tenant also responded to all notices received in regard to landlord's subsequent 1996 application.
Futterman v. DHCR: NYLJ, p. 27, col. 2 (9/20/99) (App. Div.1 Dept.; Ellerin, PJ, Tom, Wallach, Friedman, JJ)