The Second Department explained the four-year statute of limitations for a rent overcharge claim:
“A rent overcharge claim, whether made in a judicial or administrative forum, is subject to a four-year statute of limitations” (… see CPLR 213-a; Administrative Code of City of NY § 26-516[a]). “[T]he Rent Regulation [*2]Reform Act of 1997 (RRRA) (L 1997, ch 116) clarified and reinforced the four-year statute of limitations applicable to rent overcharge claims (see Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 [Administrative Code of City of NY] § 26-516[a])” …, “preclud[ing] a court from examining the rental history of a housing accommodation prior to the four-year period preceding the filing of the rent overcharge complaint” …, except in situations where there are substantial indicia of fraud.
Here, the DHCR [NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal] properly determined that July 17, 2005, was the “base date” of this proceeding, that is, the date four years prior to the filing of the relevant rent overcharge complaint. The DHCR properly refused to examine the rental history of the subject apartment prior to the “base date,” since there is no merit to the petitioner’s contention that there were substantial indicia of fraud in connection with the landlord’s establishment of the amount of the initial legal registered rent… . Matter of Watson v New York State Div of Hous & Community Renewal…, 2013 NY Slip Op 05828, 2nd Dept 9-11-13