Avoid Seven Mistakes That Could Delay Your DHCR Appeal
One day you may get an order from the District Rent Administrator (DRA) denying you a rent increase you think you’re entitled to, or unfairly finding that you’ve overcharged a tenant for decreased services. As a result, you may find yourself filing a petition for administrative review (PAR) with the DHCR to appeal the DRA order. But it’s important to keep your cool when you appeal the order. You want to handle the paperwork correctly and avoid mistakes that could delay or even cost you your appeal.
You must file your PAR or appeal on DHCR form RAR-2. A PAR must be filed within 35 days after the DRA’s order is issued and not the date you receive the order. If you hand-deliver the PAR, it must get to the DHCR on or before the 35th day after the order was issued. If you mail the PAR, it must be postmarked on or before the 35th day. If the 35-day filing period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day.
In addition to meeting the deadline, you need to avoid seven common mistakes when filling out the PAR form. If the DHCR finds any of these mistakes, it will automatically reject your PAR and give you 35 days from the date of the order rejecting your PAR to submit a new PAR.
Although you’ll get a chance to refile, you’re better off getting it right the first time. This way, you’ll avoid both extra paperwork and delays in getting a decision. You also won’t have to worry about missing the deadline for refiling and losing forever your chance to mount a challenge—a loss that could be very costly. Here are the seven mistakes to avoid when filling out and submitting the PAR form.
Mistake #1: NO DRA Order Attached
This is the most common mistake that owners make. You must attach a copy of the DRA order you’re challenging to the PAR form, or the DHCR will reject your PAR.
Mistake #2: No Premises Specified
In Section B, item 4, you must give the building address and the apartment number that’s the subject of the DRA order you’re appealing. If the order involves a building-wide complaint, you must check off the “building-wide” box instead of listing every apartment number. If you don’t fill out this information, your PAR will be rejected.
Mistake #3: No “Petitioner” Identified
In Section C, item 5, you’re supposed to list the name and address of the “petitioner.” This is the owner or managing agent who is filing the PAR. In item 7 of the same section, check the appropriate box to show whether the petitioner is the owner or the managing agent.
Even if your attorney or representative is filling out and signing the PAR on your behalf, the owner or managing agent’s name should be listed as the “Petitioner” in item 5. The attorney or representative’s name, address, and telephone number go in Section C, item 6.
If the petitioner’s name or address is missing, or if no identifying box is checked off, the DHCR will reject the PAR.
Mistake #4: Missing or Incomplete Authorization Form When Representative Signs
If your attorney or other representative signs and files your PAR for you, you must sign a written authorization to be filed with the PAR. The authorization must name the attorney or other representative, and say that he or she is authorized to file the PAR challenging the DRA’s order. It must give the order’s docket number. A proper authorization should contain the following language:
The undersigned authorize(s) Mr./Mrs./Ms._____________________________ as our (my) representative in the filing of this petition for administrative review against the Order issued under docket number ______________.
___________________ ______________________ __________________
Name (Printed) Signature Address
If your representative signs your PAR, make sure you’ve provided the required authorization. If you sign the PAR yourself, you can skip the authorization—even if your attorney prepares your PAR. Your managing agent also can sign a PAR without getting an authorization since the DHCR considers the managing agent to be an owner.
Mistake #5: No Statement of DRA’s Errors
In section D, item 9, you must say why you think the DRA’s order is wrong. If you don’t list at least one mistake you think the DRA has made, the DHCR will reject your PAR. Of course, the more reasons you give, the better your chances of getting the order revoked (you’re allowed to attach additional pages).
Mistake #6: Signature Missing
If the PAR isn’t signed in Section E, it’ll be rejected. The signer must be the person identified as the petitioner in Section C, item 5. Or the attorney or representative identified in Section C, item 6, may sign the PAR on the petitioner’s behalf—but only if the proper written authorization is attached (see Mistake #4). The person signing must have his or her signature notarized by a notary public, or sign an “affirmation.” This is a preprinted statement on the PAR form, which says that the person signing has read the PAR and believes that the statements in it are true. The affirmation needn’t be notarized.
Mistake #7: Original or Copy of PAR Not Filed
When you file your PAR at the DHCR, you must submit the original PAR form, along with any additional pages, plus one copy of the PAR form and the additional pages. If either the original or the copy is missing, your PAR will be rejected.