Section 11.25 Expedited Hearings

(Added by Ordinance No. 133-92, effective June 20, 1992)

(a) Applicability. In the following cases, a tenant or landlord may obtain an expedited hearing and order:

(1) Any landlord capital improvement petition where the proposed increase for certified capital improvement costs does not exceed the greater of 10% or $30.00 of a tenant's base rent and the parties file a signed stipulation setting forth the cost of the capital improvements on a form provided by the Rent Board;

(2) Any tenant petition alleging decreased housing services with a past value not exceeding $1,000.00 as of the date the petition is filed;

(3) Any tenant petition alleging the landlord's failure to repair and maintain the premises as required by state and local law, provided that the tenant attaches to the petition documentary evidence showing that the unrepaired/unmaintained conditions constitute violations of applicable health or safety codes;

(4) Any tenant petition alleging unlawful rent increases where the parties file a signed stipulation setting forth the tenant's rent history on a form provided by the Rent Board and the rent overpayments do not exceed a total of $1,000.00 as of the date the petition is filed;

(5) Any tenant or landlord petition concerning only jurisdictional questions where the parties file a signed stipulation setting forth the relevant facts.

(b) Application for Expedited Hearing and Order. In order to obtain an expedited hearing and order, the petitioner must file an application for an expedited hearing and order, including the written consent of all parties, on a form provided by the Rent Board. The application, and the applicable stipulations and documentary evidence required in subsection (a) above, must be filed at the time of filing the petition in order to obtain an expedited hearing date within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the filing of the application. Within seven (7) calendar days of the simultaneous filing of the application, stipulations and petition, a staff member shall determine whether an expedited hearing is appropriate under subsection (a) above.

(1) If an expedited hearing is found to be appropriate, an expedited hearing shall be scheduled within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the filing of the application for an expedited hearing and order. Written notice of the expedited hearing date shall be mailed to all parties at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the date of the expedited hearing. A declaration under penalty of perjury stating the date and place of the mailing of such notice and stating to whom and at what addresses the notice was sent shall be retained in the file of each case. The notice shall state the date, time and place of the hearing and generally describe what will take place, who has the burden of proof and the types of evidence likely to be useful at the hearing.

(A) Postponement of Expedited Hearing. Requests for postponement of an expedited hearing date shall be governed by Section 11.13 (Postponements) above. If an expedited hearing is postponed, it will be rescheduled at the earliest available date which may not be within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the filing of the application.

(2) If an expedited hearing is not appropriate under subsection (a) above, written notice of rejection of the application shall be mailed to the parties within a reasonable time following the filing of the application and a hearing on the petition shall be scheduled within forty-five (45) calendar days of the filing of the petition. Written notice of the hearing shall be mailed to the parties in accordance with Sections 11.10 (Time of Hearing; Consolidation) and 11.11 (Notice of Hearing; Response) above. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Ordinance Sections 37.7(g) (Certification Hearings) or 37.8(e) (Hearings).

(c) Late Application for Expedited Hearing and Order. If any portion of the application, written consent of all parties, required stipulations or documentary evidence necessary for obtaining an expedited hearing and order are filed at any time after the petition is filed, a hearing on the petition shall be scheduled within forty-five (45) calendar days of the filing of the petition. Prior to commencement of the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge shall determine if an expedited hearing and order are appropriate under subsection (a) above. Where an expedited hearing and order are appropriate, the Administrative Law Judge shall conduct the hearing in accordance with the expedited hearing procedures set forth in subsections (e) and (f) below, provided that all parties sign a written waiver of the right to receive an expedited hearing date within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the filing of the application.

(d) Application for Expedited Hearing and Order at the Hearing. Even if no application for an expedited hearing and order is filed prior to commencement of the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge may determine that an expedited hearing and order are appropriate under subsection (a) above and offer the parties an opportunity to file an application at the hearing and as long as the record in the case remains open. The Administrative Law Judge must fully inform the parties of their rights under the Ordinance before accepting the application.

(e) Conduct of Expedited Hearing. Expedited hearings shall be conducted in accordance with Sections 11.17 (Conduct of Hearing) and 11.22 (Personal Appearances and Representation by Agent) above. Burden of proof requirements set forth in Section 11.18 (Burden of Proof) above are applicable. All parties are entitled to legal representation or the assistance of an interpreter at any stage of the proceeding. No record of the hearing shall be maintained for any purpose.

(f) Order of the Administrative Law Judge. The Administrative Law Judge shall issue a written order deciding the petition no later than ten (10) calendar days after the hearing. The Administrative Law Judge shall make no written findings of fact. The Administrative Law Judge shall order payment or refund of amounts owing to a party or parties, if amounts are owed, within a period of time not to exceed forty-five (45) calendar days of the mailing of the order. If amounts owed are not paid or refunded within forty-five (45) calendar days, the Administrative Law Judge may order the amount(s) added to or offset against future rents.

(1) For expedited hearings conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(1) above in which the petitioner prevails, the Administrative Law Judge's written order shall contain the date upon which a capital improvement passthrough shall become effective, the monthly passthrough amount per unit and the applicable amortization period(s).

(2) For expedited hearings conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(2) above in which the petitioner prevails, the Administrative Law Judge's written order shall contain the nature of each substantially decreased housing service, the value of the decrease and the total amount of the past rent reduction corresponding with the decreased housing service(s). The order will also include the amount of any prospective rent reduction for a continuing decreased housing service. The order shall state under what conditions the landlord may be able to restore the rent reductions.

(3) For expedited hearings conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(3) above in which the petitioner prevails, the Administrative Law Judge's written order shall contain the date and amount of the deferred rent increase, a specific enumeration of the necessary repairs and/or maintenance and the amount to which the rent can be increased when those repairs and/or maintenance are completed.

(4) For expedited hearings conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(4) above in which the petitioner prevails, the Administrative Law Judge's written order shall contain the dates of each relevant rent increase, the amount of rent actually paid by the tenant, the lawful amount of rent owed by the tenant and the amount of rent overpayments.

(5) For expedited hearings conducted pursuant to subsection (a)(5) above, the Administrative Law Judge's written order shall state whether the subject rental unit(s) is/are subject to the jurisdiction of the Rent Board.

(g) Stay of Administrative Law Judge's Order. The Administrative Law Judge's written order shall be stayed for fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of mailing the order.

(h) Objection to Administrative Law Judge's Order. Any objection to the Administrative Law Judge's order must be received by the Rent Board within fifteen (15) calendar days of the mailing of the order unless such time limit is extended for good cause by a staff member. "Good cause" shall include, but is not limited to, the following: verified illness or death of a party which prevented the filing of a timely objection; verified absence from the party's mailing address during the fifteen (15) calendar days following the mailing of the order; any other reason which made it impractical to file a timely objection. Mere inconvenience or difficulty in filing the objection shall not constitute "good cause." The objection to the Administrative Law Judge's order shall be filed on a form provided by the Rent Board. The form shall state the basis of the objection, and shall be accompanied by sufficient copies to distribute to each party, along with one set of business-sized envelopes (with no return address) addressed to each party, with first class postage affixed to each envelope.

(1) Effect of Timely Objection. The timely filing of an objection will automatically dissolve the Administrative Law Judge's order. The petitioning party may refile the petition for hearing under any other appropriate hearing procedure set forth in the Ordinance. To the greatest extent possible, the new case will be assigned for hearing to the same Administrative Law Judge who issued the dissolved order.

(2) Finality of Administrative Law Judge's Order. If no timely objection to the Administrative Law Judge's order is made, the order becomes final. The order is not subject to appeal to the Board under Ordinance Section 37.8(f) nor is it subject to judicial review pursuant to Ordinance Section 37.8(f)(9).

(i) Consolidation. To the greatest extent possible, and only with the consent of all parties, expedited hearings with respect to a given building shall be consolidated.