ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT


                                  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
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT    
                                              
                                                 DISTRICT RENT              
                                                 ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET NO.
                                              :  L-002406 - B
              VARIOUS TENANTS AT THE PREMISES               
              KNOWN AS 19 EAST 80TH STREET,                               
              NEW YORK, NEW YORK             
                                                  

                              PETITIONERS     : 
          ------------------------------------X                             


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                       IN PART


               On January 12, 1987, the  above-described  tenants  filed  a
          petition  for  administrative  review  of  an  order  issued   on
          December 9, 1986 by  a  District  Rent  Administrator  concerning
          various housing accommodations in the premises known as  19  East
          80th Street, New York, New York.
                 
               The Commissioner has reviewed all of  the  evidence  in  the
          record and has carefully considered that portion  of  the  record
          relevant to the issues raised by the petition for review.  

               On June 24, 1985 numerous tenants at  the  subject  premises
          filed an application for a rent reduction based  on  the  owner's
          alleged failure to maintain building-wide services alleging  that
          the position of handyman had been eliminated; that there  was  no
          longer doorman service being provided from  3:00  P.M.  to  11:00
          P.M. on Thursdays, and 7:00 A.M to 3:00  P.M.  on  Sundays;  that
          there was no longer a service elevator operator on duty during  
          weekdays from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M., and 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.; 





          that the owner did not find substitutes for employees  when  they
          were absent from work, and that the intercom system  required  an
          employee to answer calls and  announce  visitors,  but  none  was
          being provided.    

               The owner interposed an answer, dated July 16, 1985, wherein 
          it alleged that it was maintaining all services required  by  the
          rent regulations.  The owner further asserted, among other






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          things, that all repair services were being maintained; that  the
          owner  relied  on  outside  contractors  to  make  repairs;  that
          handyman services have been better in the last  five  years  than
          they were in the preceding ten years; that for the past ten years 
          doorman service had been unchanged, and that  for  the  past  ten
          years there had been no change in the service elevator  schedule.

               On December 9, 1986 the District Rent  Administrator  issued
          the order  here  under  review,  finding  that  a  diminution  of
          services had occurred and directing the owner to restore handyman 
          services, doorman services between 3:00 P.M.  to  11:00  P.M.  on
          Thursdays, and 7:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sundays, and  to  secure
          the door when the doorman and/or elevator operator are off duty. 

               The tenants' petition asserts that the Administrator's order 
          should be extended to include all  services  previously  rendered
          and listed on the original complaint.          

               The owner submitted its answer on March 13, 1987,  in  which
          it asserted that all essential services were being provided,  and
          that there was no diminution of services.  The owner also  stated
          that it had payroll records from January  1973  through  December
          1976 which allegedly showed that there had been no change in  the
          doorman and elevator service since January 1973. 

               The owner submitted a  second  answer,  dated  September  6,
          1989.  The owner states that the Administrator's order  "did  not
          find that the absence of a doorman at  the  building  during  the
          aforementioned days and hours constitutes a decrease in services. 
          Rather, the order states, in a  subsequent  paragraph,  that  the
          owner must merely secure the door during the aforementioned  days
          and hours when there is no doorman on duty."  The  owner  further
          alleges that the services which had been performed by a  handyman
          are now being done by the superintendent and outside contractors.
          The  owner  reiterates  its  assertion  that  all  required   and
          essential services are being provided.       






               To its second answer  the  owner  attaches  alleged  payroll
          records from 1968, 1972, and 1980, which  purport  to  show  that
          there has been no change in the number of doormen employed or the 
          number of days worked.

               On December 11, 1989, the tenants filed  their  response  to
          the owner's second answer.  The tenants state that as  the  owner
          did not file its own petition for review of the District Rent 
          Administrator's order, it cannot attack the Administrator's order 
          through its answer to the tenants' petition.  

               The tenants also state that  the  owner's  answer  does  not
          address the tenants'  petition  as  it  relates  to  the  service
          elevator,  the  non-substitution  of  employees,  the  unattended
          intercom or the requested  rent  reduction,  and  therefore,  the
          tenants assert,  the  owner's  answer  was  unresponsive  to  the
          issues raised by the tenants' petition.  The  tenants  point  out






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          that the second answer submitted by the owner only addresses  the
          issue of the handyman and doorman services, but that those issues 
          were not raised by the tenants' petition.  

               On May 9, 1990 the owner submitted an affidavit sworn to  by
          the subject building's managing  agent  stating  that  the  owner
          believed that the Administrator's order did not require the owner 
          to provide any additional  handyman  or  doorman  services.   The
          managing agent states:  "Thus, the owner believed that it was not 
          aggrieved by the District Rent  Administrator's  order  with  the
          result that a PAR was not filed."  The  owner  also  attaches  an
          affidavit by the managing agent, sworn to on December  12,  1986,
          which was allegedly previously  submitted  to  the  rent  agency,
          which stated that the owner had restored  services,  and  further
          states:

                    2. No doorman on duty in building between 
                       hours 3 P.M. to ll P.M. Thursdays and
                       Sundays 7 A.M. to 3 P.M.

                    3. Secure door when doorman and/or elevator
                       operator are off on hours noted in No. #2
                       above or substitution of employees.
                         
                    Landlord has secured the door and installed a 
                    security system consisting of T.V. Camera and
                    Monitor and communication system and automatic
                    door opener operated by elevator man when and 
                    if doorman is off on-hours noted or at men's
                    room, etc.



               The managing agent's affidavit, sworn to  on  May  9,  1990,
          further alleges that D.H.C.R. should have informed the owner that 
          it had misunderstood the Administrator's order, based upon the 
          owner's affidavit sworn to on December 12, 1986.

               On November 16, 1990 the tenants submitted a letter  stating
          that pursuant to Section 26-514 of the  Rent  Stabilization  Law,
          and 2202.16 of the Re t  and  Eviction  Regulations,  both  rent-
          stabilized and rent-controlled tenants are to  be  given  a  rent
          reduction, as the  Administrator  determined  that  there  was  a
          diminution of services. 

               On  December  13,  1990,  the  tenants  submitted  a  letter
          reiterating their assertion  that  Section  26-514  of  the  Rent
          Stabilization Law makes it mandatory on the rent agency to reduce 
          the tenants' rents where there has been a finding of a  reduction
          in essential services.  To the letter the tenants attached a copy 
          of an Appellate Division, Second Department case, In  the  Matter
          of Hyde Park v. State  of  New  York,  Division  of  Housing  and
          Community Renewal, 140 A.D. 2d 351, 527 N.Y.S. 2d 841 (2nd  Dep't
          1988), aff'd, 72  N.Y.2d  809,  541  N.Y.S.2d  345  (1989).   The
          tenants state that this case holds that D.H.C.R. must reduce  the
          tenants' rent when a finding of a decrease in  required  services
          has been made.  

               On January 7, 1991, the owner submitted  a  letter  alleging






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          that the Hyde Park Associates case can be distinguished from this 
          proceeding.  The owner states:

                    There is no evidence in the record before the 
                    District Rent Administrator to support a 
                    finding of a decrease in required services. 
                    The DRA Order did not state that the owner had 
                    decreased handyman or doorman services ... 
                    The  DRA  Order  specifically  stated  that   no   rent
                    reductions were warranted, implying that no finding of
                    a decrease in required services had been made.

               On February 26, 1991, the owner submitted a  letter  to  the
          rent  agency  requesting  that  this  proceeding  (Administrative
          Review  Docket  No.  BA   410150   RT)   be   consolidated   with
          Administrative Review Docket  No.  BI  410046  RO,  which  is  an
          owner's petition alleging that the Administrator's  order  (under
          Docket No. 045773)  incorrectly  determined  that  the  apartment
          registration shall include doorman service, for sixteen hours per 
          day.




               The tenants, on March 18, 1987, filed their objection to the 
          owner's  request  for  consolidating   the   two   aforementioned
          proceedings.  The tenants assert that the two proceedings raise 
          separate issues.  The tenants point out that the petition,  under
          Docket No. BI  410046  RO,  raises  the  sole  issue  of  doorman
          service, but that issue is not raised in the tenants' petition in 
          this proceeding.

               On April 29, 1991 the owner submitted to the rent agency the 
          subject building's payroll records for the  year  1968,  and  the
          owner alleges that these records show that on the base date,  May
          31 1968, only  one  doorman  was  on  duty  for  eight  hours  on
          Thursdays and Sundays.

               After careful consideration,  the  Commissioner  is  of  the
          opinion that the tenants' petition should be granted in part.  

               The Commissioner  notes  that  the  Commissioner  issued  an
          order, dated January  24,  1990,  and  an  amended  order,  dated
          February 7, 1990, after conducting a hearing.  Both orders  found
          that the owner did not comply with the Administrator's order,  in
          this proceeding, in that the  owner  had  not  restored  handyman
          service, and doorman service on Thursdays 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. 
          and Sundays 7:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.  The first order stated:  "The 
          owner  concedes  that  the  two   positions   of   handyman   and
          superintendent  were  replaced  by  1980  by  one   position   of
          superintendent who now does handyman work.  The  owner  submitted
          records to show  that  it  now  hires  outside  help  to  replace
          handyman service  and  supplement  superintendent  service.   The
          tenants credibly testified, however, that  the  handyman  service
          has deteriorated since 1980 and that the outside help is  not  an
          adequate substitute for the on-site handyman."   

               The Commissioner further  notes  that  the  owner  filed  an
          Article 78 proceeding for judicial review of  the  aforementioned






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          order of the Commissioner.  The Supreme Court, New  York  County,
          under Index No. 5992/90, affirmed the Commissioner's order.   The
          Court stated that: 

                    The Deputy Commissioner's conclusion that the
                    District Rent Administrator's order imposed a 
                    duty upon petitioner to hire a handyman and to
                    maintain a doorman during the Thursday and 
                    Sunday shifts is perfectly logical.  It is in
                    fact the only correct interpretation that can
                    be given to the plain wording of the DRA order.
                    



               The Court also held  that  the  owner  may  not  attack  the
          findings in the Administrator's order as it had not filed its own 
          petition  for  administrative  review   of   that   order.    The
          Commissioner notes that the owner alleged in its Article 78 
          petition that the Commissioner's order  was  unjustified  because
          "DHCR had failed to give notice ... that it had misinterpreted 
          the DRA order."  The Court held that there "is no duty upon  DHCR
          to give notice to landlords who have improperly  interpreted  its
          orders.  The Division provided petitioner with a copy of the 
          District Rent Administrator's order herein, and an opportunity to 
          be heard on appeal.  That is sufficient."  

               The Commissioner notes that the  Appellate  Division,  First
          Department, by order and decision entered on  October  22,  1991,
          affirmed the Supreme Court's decision.  The Court stated that: 

                    ... the arguments raised by petitioner in this
                    Article 78 proceeding constitute a collateral 
                    attack upon the order, which should have been
                    raised in a timely filing of a Petition for 
                    Administrative Review challenging said order ...
                    The original order was clear and unambiguous 
                    in requiring petitioner to restore the reduction
                    in services.

               Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that as to  the  owner's
          response to the tenants' petition, it is the law  of  this  case,
          and res judicata,  pursuant  to  the  Supreme  Court's  decision,
          which was affirmed by the Appellate Division, that the  owner  is
          to hire a handyman and to  provide  doorman  service  during  the
          hours   stated   in   the   Administrator's   order;   that   the
          Administrator's order concerning the restoration of services  was
          clear and unambiguous; that DHCR had no duty to inform the  owner
          that it may have misinterpreted the  Administrator's  order,  and
          that the owner may not attack the  Administrator's  order  as  it
          did not file its own petition.  

               The Commissioner is of  the  opinion  that  the  proceedings
          under Administrative Review Docket  Nos.  BA  410150  RT  and  BI
          410046 RO, should not be consolidated.  Section 2529.1 of the 
          Rent Stabilization Code states:  "The Commissioner  may,  in  his
          discretion, consolidate two or more PAR's which have at least one 
          ground in common."  The  Commissioner  finds  that  there  is  no
          common  ground  in  the  issues  raised  in  the   aforementioned






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          petitions.  The issues that  are  raised  in  this  petition  are
          whether  the  complainants'  rents  should  be  reduced  as   the
          Administrator determined that there  had  been  a  diminution  of
          services, and that the Administrator's order should have found a


          diminution of all of the items listed  in  the  tenants'  service
          complaint.  The  tenants  do  not  raise  the  issue  of  doorman
          service in their petition.  As the owner did not file a  petition
          in this proceeding, the issue of the number of hours doorman 
          service is to be provided is not an issue in this proceeding, but 
          that is the only issue in the  proceeding  under  Docket  No.  BI
          410046 RO.  Even if a common ground could be  found  in  the  two
          proceedings,  it  would  still  be  a  proper  exercise  of   the
          Commissioner's discretion in  denying  the  owner's  request  for
          consolidation, because of the  possibility  of  confusion,  among
          the parties, in understanding the final determination rendered by 
          the Commissioner, due to the complexity of the  issues  that  are
          raised in the two proceedings that are before  the  Commissioner.

               Accordingly, as the owner did not file its own  petition  in
          this  proceeding,  and  based  upon  res   judicata,   collateral
          estoppel, and the law of the case, the  Commissioner  finds  that
          the owner may  not  seek  to  revoke  the  Administrator's  order
          through its answer to the tenants' petition.  

               As the Commissioner has determined that  there  has  been  a
          reduction in  required  services,  the  Commissioner  is  of  the
          opinion that that portion of the tenants' petition  requesting  a
          rent reduction for the complaining  tenants  should  be  granted,
          pursuant to the sections of the Rent Stabilization Law  and  Code
          that were noted in the tenants' petition,  and  pursuant  to  the
          holding set forth in the case of In the Matter of Hyde Park
          v. State of New York Division of Housing and  Community  Renewal.
          The Administrator's order is to be modified to reflect  the  fact
          that the rents of those rent-stabilized tenants  who  signed  the
          original complaint shall be reduced to the level in effect  prior
          to the last rent guideline increase which  commenced  before  the
          effective date of that rent reduction.   The  effective  date  of
          the rent reduction is August 1, 1985, the first day of the  month
          after the owner was served  with  the  tenants'  complaint.   The
          rent-controlled tenants who were  signatories  to  the  complaint
          should have their rents  reduced  effective  on  the  first  rent
          payment   day   following   the   issuance   of   the    original
          Administrator's  order  on  December  9,  1986,  by   $6.00   for
          inadequate doorman service and failure to secure the door in  the
          doorman's absence, and $3.00 for lack of handyman service  for  a
          total of $9.00 per month.   

               The  Commissioner  notes  that  a  careful  reading  of  the
          tenants' complaint reveals that  the  allegations  regarding  the
          service elevator and the intercom do not concern the  malfunction
          of these services but relate to the general issue  of  inadequate
          personnel available to  run  the  service  elevator  or  man  the


          intercom or to provide replacement employees when the assigned 
          employees are absent from work.  The Commissioner finds that this 
          issue  is  adequately  addressed  in  the  Administrator's  order






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT
          finding a diminution of services based on reduced personnel and 
          is, therefore, included in the rent reduction ordered herein. 

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

               ORDERED, that this petition be,  and  the  same  hereby  is,
          granted in part, and that the order issued by the  District  Rent
          Administrator on December 9, 1986 under Docket No. L-002406-B be, 
          and the same hereby is, modified,  and  that  the  rents  of  the
          stabilized tenants, whose names appear amongst the signatories to 
          the original complaint who are listed in  Appendix  "A"  attached
          hereto, be, and the same hereby are, reduced to the levels in 
          effect prior to the last rent guideline increase which  commenced
          before August 1, 1985, which is the effective date of  this  rent
          reduction; and it is 

               FURTHER ORDERED,  that  the  rents  of  the  rent-controlled
          tenants, whose names appear on Appendix "B" attached hereto,  be,
          and the same hereby are reduced by $9.00 per  month,  ($6.00  for
          inadequate  doorman  service  and  $3.00  for  lack  of  handyman
          service), effective January 1, 1987, the first rent  payment  due
          after issuance of the Administrator's order, and it is     

               FURTHER ORDERED, that based on  the  determination  made  in
          docket number EL 430212-OR that services have been restored,  the
          aforementioned rent reductions are restored  effective  March  1,
          1991, the month following  service  of  the  owner's  restoration
          application on the tenants, for rent stabilized tenants,  and  it
          is 

               FURTHER ORDERED, that the rents be  restored  by  $9.00  per
          month for rent controlled tenants effective  June  1,  1992,  the
          month following issuance of this Commissioner's order and it is 













               FURTHER ORDERED, that the owner shall credit any refund  for
          which it may be liable as a result  of  this  order  against  the
          future rents of the complainants over a period not in excess of 
          six months, and that if the refund exceeds the total rent due for 
          six months, the owner shall continue to credit the  complainants'
          rents until the refund is fully credited.

          ISSUED:









          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. BA 410150 RT



                                                                        
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner




                                                    

    

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