ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS.: AK 610176-RO ETC.

                                 STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          ------------------------------------X 
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEALS OF                             DOCKET NOS.:              
                                                 AK 610176-RO  
                                              :  BL 630069-RO
                                                 BL 630359-RO              
              JOREMI ENTERPRISES, INC.                    
                                                 DRO ORDER NOS.:           
                                                 Z85B-000409-HH         
                                                 ZAL-630023-OR        
                                                 ZCB-630061-OR 
                                                                           
                                                 Tenant association      
                                                 president: Anton         
                                                 Yanchewski                
             PETITIONER                       :                           
            ----------------------------------X                         

            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
             NO. AK 610176-RO, TERMINATING PROCEEDINGS IN DOCKET NOS. BL
              630069-RO AND BL 630359-RO, AND REVOKING ORDER NOS. Z85B-
                     000409-HH, ZAL-630023-OR AND ZCB-630061-OR


               On November 14, 1986 the above named petitioner-owner  filed
          a Petition for Administrative Review (Docket  No.  AK  610176-RO)
          against an order (No. Z85B-000409-HH) issued on October 27,  1986
          by the District Rent  Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall  Street,
          Jamaica, New York  concerning  housing  accommodations  known  as
          2916 St. Theresa Avenue,  Bronx,  New  York,  various  apartments
          wherein the District Rent Administrator determined that the owner 
          had failed to maintain hot water  services  and,  based  thereon,
          reduced the tenants' rent.

               On  December  7,  1987  the  owner  filed  a  Petition   for
          Administrative Review against an order (Docket No. ZAL-630023-OR) 
          issued on November 2, 1987 denying the owner's application for  a
          restoration of the rents reduced  by  Order  No.  Z85B-000409-HH.
          One copy of the petition was assigned Docket  No.  BL  630069-RO;
          another was assigned Docket No. BL 630359-RO.  




               As they involve common elements of law and fact,  all  three
          petitions are herein merged and decided in one order and opinion.

               The issue in these appeals  is  whether  the  District  Rent
          Administrator's orders were warranted.       
               
               The applicable sections  of  the  Law  are  Sections  9NYCRR
          2520.6 and 2525.2 of the Rent  Stabilization  Code  and  Sections






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS.: AK 610176-RO ETC.
          2201.2 and 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations  for  New
          York City. 

               The proceedings were  initiated  by  the  tenants  filing  a
          complaint (Docket No. 85B-000409-HH) of a building-wide  decrease
          in service in which they alleged "Hot water -  on  June  12th  to
          June 13th, 1986 boiler was out of service."  Upon  being  sent  a
          copy of the complaint, the owner submitted an  answer  contending
          that there had been a backup in the N.Y.C. sewer system  on  June
          12th; that a plumber was sent to pump out the  flooded  basement;
          that there was naturally no hot water on that day until  the  oil
          burner dried out and could  be  restarted;  and  that  additional
          pumps were installed a week later to prevent high  water  in  the
          event of  future  sewer  backups.   With  its  answer  the  owner
          enclosed a bill from the plumber and a cancelled check in payment 
          of the bill.      

               On October 27, 1986 the Rent Administrator issued  an  order
          reducing both the controlled and the stabilized rents of  various
          apartments in the subject building.

               In its petition  (Docket  No.  AK  610176-RO)  against  that
          order, the owner repeats the contentions  given  in  its  answer;
          asserts in substance that  the  Administrator's  order  does  not
          indicate the basis of its findings, that the owner's  answer  was
          considered, or that an inspection was done; and contends  that  a
          brief interruption in service due  to  repairs  or  circumstances
          beyond the control of an owner does not warrant a rent reduction. 
            
               In answer, the president of the tenants' association asserts 
          in substance that there was no sewer backup  on  June  12,  1986,
          according to the N.Y.C. Department of Sewer and Water Supply  and
          the buildings across the street; and that the installation  of  a
          sump pump was long overdue as the condition  of  natural  surface
          water entering the boiler burner pit had existed for a long  time
          and resulted in numerous breakdowns of the burner.     

               On December 24, 1986  the  owner  submitted  an  application
          (Docket No. AL-630023-OR) to restore the  rents  reduced  by  the
          October 27, 1986 order.  A physical inspection on  September  17,


          1987 of the hot water temperature in the bathrooms  and  kitchens
          of two apartments found three measurements of 114 degrees and one
          measurement of 96 degrees.  In an order  issued  on  November  2,
          1987  the  Administrator  denied  the  owner's  rent  restoration
          application on the grounds that the hot water temperature was not 
          adequate.

               On December 7, 1987 the owner filed an original and  a  copy
          of a Petition  for  Administrative  Review  against  that  order.
          They were assigned Docket Nos. BL 630069-RO and BL 630359-RO.  In 
          the petition the owner contends in substance that the rent should 
          be restored as its petition (Docket No. AK 610176-RO) against the 
          order reducing the rent is likely to succeed;  that  the  limited
          nature of the complaint implies that service was  restored;  that
          it has no knowledge of a problem with hot water on the  date  the
          purported reinspection occurred; that the  Administrator's  order
          does not indicate what is meant by "inadequate" hot  water;  that






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS.: AK 610176-RO ETC.
          one inspection  over  a  year  after  a  purported  violation  is
          insufficient to continue a rent reduction; and that  the  conduct
          originally complained of did not rise to a  condition  warranting
          the drastic penalty of a rent reduction. 

               In answer, the tenants assert in substance that the  owner's
          petition against the denial of the rent  restoration  application
          may not also attempt to be a petition against the original  order
          reducing the rent; and that it does not matter if the owner  knew
          of the hot  water  temperature  violation  at  the  time  of  the
          inspection.  

               On February 4, 1988 the owner filed an  application  (Docket
          No. CB 630061-OR) for a restoration of  the  rents  decreased  in
          Docket No. Z85B-000409-HH, again submitting a  paid  invoice  for
          having a flooded basement pumped out on June 12, 1986 as well  as
          stating that it had no knowledge of any problem on September  17,
          1987 that would have resulted in inadequate hot water.

               In answer, the tenants' attorney asserts in  substance  that
          the owner's application is merely an end run around the denial of 
          the previous rent restoration application as well as the original 
          order that found a  service  decrease,  and  that  as  such  this
          duplicative application should be denied. 

               On September 9, 1988 a DHCR  inspector  measured  hot  water
          temperature in 7 apartments, and found it to be 115 degrees,  118
          degrees, 120 degrees, 120 degrees, 120 degrees, 122 degrees,  and
          122 degrees."




               The tenants' association president subsequently requested  3
          unannounced heat and hot water  inspections  during  the  heating
          season, and  enclosed  a  Housing  Preservation  and  Development
          violation order based on a February 23, 1988  inspection  in  his
          apartment which found a hot water temperature of 112 degrees.

               In  an  order  issued  on  October   19,   1988   the   Rent
          Administrator, based on the results  of  the  September  9,  1988
          inspection, restored the rents effective April 1, 1988  of  those
          apartments which had had their rents reduced by Docket N .  Z85B-
          000409-HH.   (The  tenant  association  president  appealed   the
          restoration order on November 22, 1988.  His petition, Docket No. 
          CK 610173-RT, was rejected on May 9,  1990  because  he  did  not
          submit evidence of authorization by the other tenants to  file  a
          petition.  On June 12, 1990 he refiled his  petition,  which  was
          assigned Docket No. EF 630364-RT.  Because he had  not  corrected
          the procedural defect, the petition was dismissed  on  August  3,
          1990.)     

               The Commissioner is of the  opinion  that  the  petition  in
          Docket No. AK 610176-RO should be granted, that  the  proceedings
          in  Docket  Nos.  BL  630069-RO  and  BL  630359-RO   should   be
          terminated, and that Order Nos. Z85B-000409-HH, ZAL-630023-OR and 
          ZCB-630061-OR should be revoked.

               Section 9  NYCRR  2525.2  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Code






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS.: AK 610176-RO ETC.
          requires an owner to maintain the services described in Section 9 
          NYCRR 2520.6.  Section  26-514  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Law
          mandates a reduction in rent upon a finding that  the  owner  has
          failed to maintain services.  Section 2202.16  of  the  Rent  and
          Eviction Regulations for New York City grants the  District  Rent
          Administrator power to order  a  decrease  of  the  maximum  rent
          otherwise allowable for rent controlled apartments,  where  there
          has been a decrease in essential services.  

               In the present case the tenants claimed that the boiler  had
          been out of service for a one or two day period.  While the owner 
          agreed that there had been no hot water for one day, neither  the
          tenants nor the owner claimed that the lack of hot water extended 
          past that time.  Because the  DHCR  will  generally  not  find  a
          service decrease where there is a good faith effort  to  promptly
          effect repairs required by an emergency  situation,  particularly
          when the repairs are  completed  within  a  day  or  two  of  the
          beginning of the emergency, the  Administrator  should  not  have
          found a service decrease and reduced the rent.  Because  no  rent
          reduction order should have been issued in  the  first  instance,
          and because this order is revoking the Administrator's Order  No.
          Z85B-000409-HH, the Administrator's orders denying a  restoration


          application in Order No. ZAL-630023-OR and granting a restoration 
          application in Order No. ZCB-630061-OR are moot  and  are  herein
          being revoked.  While the September 17, 1987 measurements of  hot
          water temperatures in 2 apartments found them to be below the 120 
          degrees required by the N.Y.C.  Housing  Maintenance  Code  these
          measurements are not relevant to the  issue  of  whether  a  rent
          reduction should have been granted for a boiler which was out  of
          service for a day  more  than  a  year  previous  and  which  was
          repaired  before  the   tenants   complained   about   it.    The
          measurements would also not have been  enough  in  themselves  to
          warrant a rent reduction absent a complaint, served on the owner, 
          of continuing inadequate hot water temperatures.  Not  only  were
          the measurements not taken as part of  such  a  proceeding;  they
          were taken as  part  of  a  proceeding  to  restore  rents  whose
          reduction this order finds to  have  been  incorrect  ab  initio.
              
               If the owner has already complied with  the  Administrator's
          order and there are arrears due to the owner as a result  of  the
          present determination, the owner is directed to allow the tenants 
          to pay off the arrears  in  twelve  equal  monthly  installments.
          Should any tenant vacate after the issuance  of  this  order,  or
          have previously vacated, said tenant's arrears shall  be  payable
          immediately.  

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and 
          Code, and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it 
          is 

               ORDERED, that the petition in Docket No.  AK  610176-RO  be,
          and the same hereby is, granted; that the proceedings  in  Docket
          Nos. BL 630069-RO and BL 630359-RO be, and the same  hereby  are,
          terminated; and that Order Nos. Z85B-000409-HH, ZAL-630023-OR and 
          ZCB-630061-OR be, and the same hereby are, revoked.

          ISSUED:






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NOS.: AK 610176-RO ETC.




                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner




                                                    

    

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