Topic No. 403: Minute Orders
In an effort to reduce the time period between hearings and decisions, the Rent Board offers a voluntary Minute Order Program. A Minute Order is an abbreviated decision that is generally issued more quickly than a full decision, because the Administrative Law Judge is not required to make detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Instead, the Administrative Law Judge prepares a short written order setting forth only the ultimate rights, responsibilities and liabilities of the parties. Minute Orders are issued within 14 days of the hearing or record close date.
It is entirely within the Administrative Law Judge's discretion to decide whether a Minute Order would be appropriate in a particular case. Some of the factors considered are: the complexity of the issues in the case; whether the evidence is clear; whether the petition is contested; and whether the parties could understand the ruling without the benefit of a full analysis. If the Administrative Law Judge concludes that a Minute Order would be appropriate in the case, the Administrative Law Judge will so inform the parties at the conclusion of the hearing and ask the petitioning party if he or she would like to have a Minute Order instead of a Full Decision. The petitioning party has the right to decline a Minute Order, but does not have a right to insist on a Minute Order.
There is no direct appeal from a Minute Order, except for an appeal based on financial hardship. Otherwise, if a party wants to appeal a Minute Order, the following procedure must be followed. Within 15 calendar days of the issuance of a Minute Order, the party who wants to appeal must file a Request for Full Decision on a form provided by the Rent Board. The purpose of requesting a full decision is NOT to seek a change of the ruling in the Minute Order or to submit new evidence. The ruling in a full decision will be consistent with the ruling in the Minute Order; it will just explain the ruling more fully, in the traditional decision format. If a timely Request for Full Decision is received at the Rent Board, a full Decision will issue within 45 calendar days from the day of receipt of the Request for Full Decision. The full decision can then be appealed within 15 days of issuance, in accordance with regular Rent Board appeal procedures. If a Request for Full Decision is not filed within the prescribed time period, the Minute Order shall become the final Order of the Board, which cannot be appealed.