Docket No.: AJ 110127 RT
STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: AJ 110127-RT
ALICE M. CASEY, D.R.O. DOCKET NO.:
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On October 6, 1986, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on
September 4, 1986, by the District Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union
Hall Street, Jamaica, New York, concerning housing accommodations
known as Apartment 2J, 94-05 222nd Street, Queens Village, New
The issue in this appeal is whether the District Rent
Administrator's order was warranted.
The applicable section of the law is Section 2523.4 of the Rent
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record
and has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant
to the issue raised by the administrative appeal.
This proceeding was commenced on May 4, 1984 by the tenant's
filing of a decreased services complaint wherein the tenant
complained of mice infestation within the subject apartment.
In his answer to the tenant's complaint, the owner contended in
substance that the building superintendent had addressed the
tenant's mice problem, and that regular professional exterminating
service was provided to the subject building.
On April 20, 1985, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
(DHCR) sent the tenant a reply form inquiring as to whether the
owner had corrected the defective conditions listed in her
complaint. On April 29, 1985 the tenant mailed the reply form to
DHCR reiterating her original complaint. This tenant reply was
received by DHCR, but unfortunately was never delivered to or
considered by the District Rent Administrator.
In Order Number CDR 05,853 issued June 25, 1985, the District Rent
Administrator terminated the proceeding based on the tenant's
failure to submit a reply to its request of April 20, 1985.
On July 10, 1985, the tenant filed a petition for administrative
review against the above-mentioned order claiming that the
Administrator erred in dismissing her complaint because she did
submit a reply to the DHCR request of April 20, 1985.
Docket No.: AJ 110127 RT
In Administrative Review Docket Number ART 03952-Q issued April
28, 1986, the Commissioner granted the tenant's petition by
remanding the proceeding to the Rent Administrator for further
In the remanded proceeding, the owner contended in substance that
he was providing all required services in the subject apartment;
much work was done in the subject apartment in response to the
tenant's complaint, including placing molding, steel wool and
screening in spots where mice may have been entering the apartment
and also dismantling and restoring the bottom of the kitchen sink
cabinet; regular exterminating service was provided by an outside
contractor who made two special visits to the subject apartment;
the building superintendent made eight visits to the subject
apartment from April 26, 1986 to June 10, 1986; at the last visit
by the superintendent to the subject apartment, the tenant
informed the super that there weren't any indications of vermin in
the apartment except that she could hear mice in her bedroom
walls; and the issue of reduced exterminating service was being
covered in hearings under Docket Number QCS000151-B. In support
of these contentions, the owner submitted a letter dated March 21,
1986 from his exterminating contractor.
On remand, the tenant contended in substance that her longstanding
problem of mice infestation still existed; exterminating services
were provided on an irregular basis and were limited to the
apartments in the building; DHCR Order Number ZQS5000601-B issued
January 13, 1986 confirmed the existence of mice infestation in
the compactor room of the subject building; and five violations
were issued by the Office of Code Enforcement for mice infestation
in her apartment. In support of these contentions, the tenant
submitted several Administrative Tribunal decisions of the New
York City Department of Health involving the subject building, a
violation issued by the New York City Environmental Control Board,
and a listing of violations found by the New York City Department
of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) involving the
In Docket Number AE 110005-RP issued September 4, 1986, the
District Rent Administrator determined that his prior order of
June 25, 1985 should be affirmed.
In this petition, the tenant contends in substance that the
District Rent Administrator's order is incorrect and should be
reversed because the evidence she submitted in the remanded
proceeding proves that the problem of mice infestation in her
apartment has not been remedied.
Docket No.: AJ 110127 RT
The owner did not submit a response to the tenant's petition.
On October 2, 1991, the Administrative Review Unit of DHCR
requested an inspection of the subject apartment to investigate
the tenant's allegation of mice infestation. A physical
inspection of the subject apartment on October 18, 1991 confirmed
the tenant's claim of mice.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be
Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in
pertinent part that a tenant may apply to the DHCR for a reduction
of the legal regulated rent to the level in effect prior to the
most recent guidelines adjustment, and DHCR shall so reduce the
rent for the period for which it is found that the owner failed to
maintain required services.
A review of the record in the instant case, which included the
results of a physical inspection conducted in the subject
apartment and the HPD, Department of Health and Environmental
Control Board violations documented by the tenant in the remanded
proceeding along with DHCR Order Number ZQCS000601-B, reveals that
the owner failed to maintain services. Accordingly, the
Commissioner finds that the District Rent Administrator erred by
failing to reduce the tenant's rent. The monthly rent for the
subject apartment is hereby retroactively reduced effective
January 1, 1985, the first rent payment date following the date of
service on the owner of the tenant's original complaint. The rent
shall be reduced to the level in effect prior to the last rent
guideline increase which commenced before January 1, 1985, and the
rent shall remain at that level until an order is issued
restoring the rent. The owner is directed to repay to the tenant
any excess rent paid by her as a result of this order within
thirty (30) days of the issuance date of this order. If the owner
fails to make a refund within thirty (30) days of this order, the
tenant is authorized to deduct the amount from future rent's,
until the total amount has been refunded.
This order and opinion is issued without prejudice to the owner's
right to file an application for a restoration of rent based on a
restoration of services, if the facts so warrant.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted,
and that the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby is revoked.