Work Done to Apartment Was Repairs, Not Improvements
LVT Number: #21025
Rent-stabilized tenant complained of a rent overcharge. Landlord claimed that there was no overcharge because it had made 1/40th apartment improvements before tenant moved in. The DRA ruled for tenant and reduced his rent from $1,350 to $1,088. The DRA ordered landlord to refund $8,100 including triple damages. Landlord appealed, claiming that there was no willful overcharge, that it submitted full documentation of the cost of the work, and that it believed it was entitled to collect a 1/40th rent increase for the work done. The DHCR ruled against landlord. Landlord's work consisted of stripping and sanding floors, coating floors with polyurethane, painting, repairing moldings and caulk for windows, removing wallpaper, repairing walls, fixing window locks, fixing holes in the doorjambs, replacing kitchen cabinet doors, and replacing kitchen cabinet handles. These items were all normal maintenance or repair work and didn't qualify as 1/40th improvements. Landlord had no reason to believe that this work qualified as individual apartment improvements, and the DRA properly imposed triple damages for willlful overcharge.
47-35 48 Street Woodside LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. WH110025RO (12/5/08) [2-pg. doc.]