Grill and Tare Victorious at DHCR – Tenant’s Petition Denied in Its Entirety

September 6, 2018 | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use | Commercial Litigation

Tenant initially filed a rent overcharge complaint at The New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR).  The Rent Administrator held that the individual apartment improvements (IAI) alleged by the landlord to have been done in the apartment were proven and that there were no monies due to the tenant because the owner previously refunded to the tenant monies in excess of any potential overcharge.  The tenant filed a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) and the matter was remanded by the Deputy Commissioner to the Rent Administrator with directions to investigate if there was an identity of interest between the landlord and the contractor who performed the IAI and to investigate the invoices submitted by the landlord.

After further investigation and submissions by the parties, the Rent Administrator determined that the landlord was entitled to the rent increases assessed as a result of the IAI because the landlord successfully demonstrated that the contractor, who is also the superintendent of the subject building, was paid for the IAI separate and apart from payment received as the superintendent of the building.

In addition, the Rent Administrator determined that the invoices submitted were properly explained by the landlord and supported by an affidavit of the contractor.  As a result of the second decision by Rent Administrator, the tenant filed her second PAR.  In denying the second PAR, the Commissioner disregarded each and every argument raised by the tenant, decided that the matter was remanded back to the Rent Administrator for further investigation on only two items, and the Rent Administrator came to a reasonable conclusion regarding both of those items.

The landlord properly explained the identity of interests between the landlord and contractor, and demonstrated that the contractor was paid separately for the work done as the superintendent of the building and the work done as contractor for the IAI, which was proven by providing checks for both the IAI and the superintendent’s salary and a supporting affidavit from the contractor. In addition, the Deputy Commissioner found that the invoices submitted by landlord were bona fide and supported the finding that the IAI at issue were in fact performed and paid for by landlord.

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