STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: AK 810025 RO
                                              :  DRO DOCKET NO. WNR 86-S-32S
                                PETITIONER    : 


               On November 6, 1986, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review  against  an  order  issued  on
          October 3, 1986, by the  Rent  Administrator,  99  Church  Street,
          White Plains, New York, concerning housing accommodations known as 
          Apartment 2J at 777 Pelham Road, New Rochelle, New  York,  wherein
          the Rent Administrator determined that the  owner  had  failed  to
          maintain services and accordingly reduced the rent of the  subject

               The issue in this appeal is whether the Rent  Administrator's
          order was warranted.

               The applicable section of the Law is Section  2503.4  of  the
          Tenant Protection Regulations.

               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 by the filing of an  Individual
          Tenant Statement of Complaint on May 2, 1986, in which the  tenant
          stated that a leak from a broken pipe created water damage to  the
          wallpaper  in  the  hall  near  her  entrance  door.   The  tenant
          submitted an estimate of the cost of  replacing  and  hanging  new
          wallpaper; and a statement of  inspection  conducted  by  the  New
          Rochelle Fire Department on April  10,  1986,  which  found  water
          damage to the wallpaper resulting from a  leak  or  spillage  from
          above; and  messages  between  the  parties  dated  December  1987
          regarding removal of damaged wallpaper and painting.

               In response to the tenant's complaint dated May 20, 1986, the 
          owner asserted that the tenant  had  violated  the  provisions  of
          Paragraph 38 of her lease by wallpapering the  damaged  area,  and
          requested that the Division order the tenant to restore her  walls
          to their original condition.

               In  the  order  appealed  herein,  the   Rent   Administrator
          determined that, based upon the physical inspection  conducted  by

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: AK 810025 RO
          New Rochelle Fire Dept., service decreases  had  occurred  in  the
          subject apartment, and reduced the rent to  the  level  in  effect
          prior to the most recent guideline adjustment  effective  June  1,

               In this petition, the owner  asserts  that  it  submitted  an
          answer dated May 20, 1986,  alleging  violation  of  the  tenant's
          lease, and a subsequent  answer  dated  September  24,  1986,  not
          considered by the District Rent Administrator, alleging correction 
          of the cause of the water damage in March  1986.   The  owner,  at
          PAR, submits a copy of the latter answer. 

               In answer, the tenant stated, among other  things,  that  the
          damage from the leak was not corrected by  March  1986,  and  that
          she need not remove the wallpaper until she vacates the apartment, 
          pursuant to Paragraph 31 of her lease.     

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition  should
          be granted.

               Section 2503.4 of the Tenant Protection Regulations  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 adjustment and the DHCR may so reduce the  rent
          where it is found that the owner has failed to  maintain  required

               The record indicates that the owner's answer of September 24, 
          1986, submitted in response to a Final Notice dated September  11,
          1986 which instructed the owner to find the cause of  and  correct
          the water damage, was not received by the Administrator.  In  this
          answer, the owner asserted that the cause of the water damage  had
          been corrected in March 1986.  The New  Rochelle  Fire  Department
          inspection of April 10, 1986, confirmed  the  existence  of  water
          damage.  Memos between the parties dated  December  1987  indicate
          that the owner had offered to  remove  the  wallpaper,  etc.,  and
          paint with white paint, but the tenant indicated in response  that
          white paint was unacceptable, and that the appointment  should  be

               The Commissioner finds that, based on the evidence of record, 
          the order of the Rent Administrator should be revoked. The  tenant
          is apparently in breach of her lease  agreement,  having  violated
          Paragraph 38, which  provides,  in  pertinent  part,  "The  Tenant
          agrees not to paint or paper any of the interior walls ... of  the
          demised apartment ...."  Paragraph 31 cannot be construed to
          nullify Paragraph 38 of the lease agreement.  

               The tenant's request for relief, seeking monetary  damages,is
          one which she must pursue in a court  of  competent  jurisdiction.
          There is nothing in the record to establish that the owner at any
          time waived the provision in the lease prohibiting wallpaper,  and

          the owner cannot be deemed  to  have  decreased  services  in  the
          apartment in view of his willingness to  repair,  by  plaster  and
          paint, upon removal of the wallpaper by the tenant.    

               Any arrears due the owner as a result of this  order  may  be

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: AK 810025 RO
          paid by the tenant in equal monthly installments over the next  12
          months.  If the tenant should vacate,  all  arrears  will  be  due

               THEREFORE,  in  accordance  with  the   provisions   of   the
          Emergency  Tenant  Protection  Act  and  the   Tenant   Protection
          Regulations, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition for administrative review be, and 
          the same hereby is, granted, and,  that  the  order  of  the  Rent
          Administrator be, and the same hereby is, revoked.


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner


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