Docket Number: BD 230065-RO
                                 STATE OF NEW YORK
                           OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

        APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: BD 230065-RO 
                                               DOCKET NO.: ZKCS-000401-B
                              PETITIONER    : 

        On April 8, 1987 the above-named petitioner-owner filed  a  Petition
        for Administrative Review against orders issued on March 5, 1987  by
        the District Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall  Street,  Jamaica,
        New York concerning housing accommodations known as 1730  East  18th
        Street, Brooklyn, New York, various apartments wherein the  District
        Rent Administrator determined that the owner had failed to  maintain
        services and, based thereon, reduced the tenants' rent.

        The applicable sections of the Law are Sections 9 NYCRR  2520.6  and
        2525.2 of the Rent Stabilization Code, Section 26-514  of  the  Rent
        Stabilization Law, and Sections 2201.2 and 2202.16 of the  Rent  and
        Eviction Regulations for New York City.

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

        The Commissioner has reviewed all 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 originally commenced on December 6, 1985 by  the
        tenants filing a complaint of decrease in  services  in  which  they
        alleged 14 different items of service decrease in the building.

        In response the owner, addressing each item point by point, asserted 
        in substance that all services were being provided.

        On April 17, 1986  a  staff  member  of  the  Division  conducted  a
        physical inspection of the subject premises and  reported  that  the
        laundry room was soiled, that the vestibule door  was  not  locking,
        that there was evidence of vermin  infestation  in  two  apartments,
        that the public  floors  and  lobby  were  soiled,  that  there  was
        evidence of the lobby walls peeling paint, that there was marking on 
        the walls, and that there was peeling paint  around  the  3rd  floor
        hall window.  Upon reinspection on October 24, 1986 the only  defect
        noted was the  peeling  paint  around  the  3rd  floor  window;  all
        previously noted problems had been corrected. 

        On March 5, 1987  the  District  Rent  Administrator  issued  orders
        reducing the rent of the rent controlled tenants by $2.00  effective
        the next rent payment date, and of the rent stabilized tenants by  a

          Docket Number: BD 230065-RO

        Guidelines increase effective March 1, 1986.

        In this petition the owner contends in substance  that  it  did  not
        have any notice of any complaint regarding the item which formed the 
        basis of the rent reduction, and that in any event the item  was  de
        minimus and did not warrant a rent reduction.

        In answer, several tenants allege various items that were either not 
        complained of originally or else were found upon inspection  not  to

        The Commissioner is of the opinion  that  this  petition  should  be

        Section 9 NYCRR 2525.2 of the Rent Stabilization  Code  requires  an
        owner to maintain the services described in Section 9 NYCRR  2520.6,
        including hot water.  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.

        Item number 14 of the tenants' complaint had typed "[t]he lobby  and
        vestibule are extremely filthy and unkempt; both require painting as 
        well."  The phrase "as public hallways and  building  exterior  trim
        and windows" was printed by hand after the "... as well."  Given the 
        ambiguous language in the complaint, given that t e  owner's  point-
        by-point answer did not evidence an awareness that peeling paint  by
        a 3rd floor window was being  complained  of,  and  given  that  the
        owner, at least by the time  of  the  reinspection,  repaired  every
        single item mentioned in its answer, or in  the  tenant's  complaint
        other than the peeling  3rd  floor  paint  which  the  Administrator
        apparently took to be implied in  the  complaint,  the  Commissioner
        does not consider the peeling paint by the window  to  constitute  a
        service decrease which the owner could  be  said  to  have  been  on
        notice of.  Accordingly, the Administrator's order finding a service 
        decrease and reducing the rent must be revoked.

        Regarding  the  tenants'  answers:   If  they  feel  that  they  are
        currently experiencing  service  reductions,  either  of  items  not
        originally complained of or of items which were found to be adequate 
        by the DHCR's inspector but which are now  inadequate,  they  should
        file individual or  building-wide  service  decrease  complaints  as

        If any tenant owes money to the owner as a result of this Order  and
        Opinion, the owner is hereby directed to allow such tenant to  repay
        such arrears in equal installments over the course of the  next  six
        months.  Should such tenant vacate after the issuance of this order, 
        or have previously vacated, said arrears shall be payable  immediate

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

        ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted  and

          Docket Number: BD 230065-RO

        that the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby 
        is, revoked.


                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner


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