Tenant Denies Getting Income Certification Form
LVT Number: 11907
Facts: Landlord filed a petition for high-rent/high-income deregulation of tenant's apartment since tenant's rent-stabilized rent was over $2,000 per month. Prior to filing the petition, landlord mailed tenant an Income Certification Form (ICF). Tenant didn't answer the ICF. The DRA sent notice of landlord's deregulation petition to tenant. Tenant didn't answer within 60 days, and the DRA deregulated the apartment based on tenant's default. Tenant appealed, claiming that she never received landlord's petition from the DRA. Tenant also submitted copies of her income tax returns showing an annual income of less than $250,000. The DHCR ruled against tenant and denied her PAR. The DHCR refused to consider new proof on appeal. The DHCR also found that its mailing procedures were followed. So it was presumed that tenant received the petition. Tenant then appealed to the court, claiming that the DHCR's decision was unreasonable. Court: Tenant wins. Tenant claimed that landlord's employees collected and sorted mail that was delivered to the building and that they frequently misdirected mail. So the DHCR's finding that tenant didn't rebut the presumption of receipt wasn't rational. Tenant's excuse was reasonable, and the proof of income tax returns was sufficient to require the DHCR's consideration of the merits of the case. The case was sent back to the DHCR for a hearing on the merits.
Flanaigan v. DHCR: NYLJ, p. 26, col. 2 (10/1/97) (Sup. Ct. NY; Davis, J)