DOCKET NUMBER: AL 120140-RO
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.: AL 210140-RO
DRO DOCKET NO.: AC 110002-RP
BEECHWOOD GARDENS (QS 00207-B)
OWNERS INC. PETITIONER :
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On November 3, 1986 the abovenamed petitioner owner filed a Petition for
Administrative Review against an order issued on September 29, 1986 by the
Rent Administrator concerning the housi g accommodations known as 192-
02/195-45 39th Avenue, Various Apartments, Flushing, Queens.
On October 2, 1984 various tenants filed a multiple complaint of decreases
in services alleging, among other things, that free parking had previously
been provided on a first come - first served basis and that the owner had
fenced off the parking area and demanded a fee for the use thereof.
On April 29, 1985 the Administrator issued an order dismissing their
complaint based on a physical inspection which disclosed that the other
services had been restored and that parking areas were in existence and
apparently available and the tenants (QS 00207-B). The tenants filed a
On February 26, 1986 the Commissioner issued an order and opinion
remanding the proceeding to the Administrator for a hearing finding in
substance, that the abovenoted physical inspection not sufficient to
properly process the tenants' complaint as to parking (ART 03167-Q).
On remand such a hearing was conducted before an Administrative Law Judge
who found, based on the testimony of 5 long term tenants (who had been in
occupancy since various dates in 1955 to 1969) and various photographic
exhibits, that parking in Z outdoor lots had been available from at least
1957 to 1985, on a first come - first served basis, at no additional
rental charge. The tenants had conceded that their leases had made no
mention of parking.
The herein appealed order of the Rent Administrator was based on the
findings and recommendations of the Administrative Law Judge abovenoted
and, among other things, reduced various stabilized rents as of December
1, 1984 to the level in effect prior to the most recent guideline
adjustments in effect on November 16, 1984, the date the owner was given
notice of the tenants' original complaint.
In its petition the owner alleges that the Commissioner's prior order of
remand was influenced by hearsay evidence of a former superintendent; that
the owner now has new evidence that said former superintendent, in fact,
collected parking fees from the tenants in cash which he kept for himself
"with the prior owner's blessing"; that the rent reductions are excessive
DOCKET NUMBER: AL 120140-RO
since they are more than the parking fee demanded by the owner and there
were never enough parking spaces to accommodate all the complaint tenants
some of whom do not even own cars; that the rent reductions should, at
most, have been retroactive only to the date of the Administrator's prior
order, which found no decrease in services, since the owner "relied upon
said determination to its detriment"; that the tenants did not challenge
the initial 1984 registrations which did not list parking as a service;
and that the parking lots are unlicensed, and therefore illegal, and the
owner cannot be required to provide an illegal service.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
The rules of hearsay evidence do not apply to the same extent in
administrative as in judicial proceedings. In any case there was more
than enough direct evidence in this proceeding to support the
Administrative Law Judge's findings. The fact that a prior order of
remand may have been based in part on hearsay evidence is immaterial.
The owner has submitted nothing but its own allegations with respect to
new evidence of the conduct of the former superintendent. Nor would the
prior owner's alleged informal acquiescence in an employee's private
business, of questionable legality, militate against the rights of the
The illegal parking fee demanded by the owner does not displace this
agency's customary practice as a measure of the rental value of the
discontinued service to the tenants.
Parking was concededly on a first come - first served basis. The fact
that tenants might not always be successful in finding parking spaces does
not mean they are not entitled to rent reductions. Nor does the fact that
at any given time a tenant might not actually own a car since he might
rent or buy one or the service might be required by a visitor.
The owner certainly knew that the Administrator's prior determination was
under challenge. If it chose not to restore the service it was at its own
An owner cannot unilaterally relieve itself of the obligation to supply a
service by simply not mentioning it in registrations.
The owner has not proved either that a license is, in fact, required for
the lots or that it has made any attempt to obtain a license if it is.
Anyway, in this case, the tenants would still be entitled to rent
The Commissioner notes that if, for some legitimate reason, the owner
cannot restore the service, it may apply for permission to discontinue it
in return for permanent rent reductions.
The Commissioner finds that the Administrator's determination was correct.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied and that
DOCKET NUMBER: AL 120140-RO
the order of the Rent Administrator be, and the same hereby is, affirmed.