BD 420268 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 420268 RO
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: AD 530053 B

               On April 10, 1987 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued March 5, 1987.  The order concerned housing 
          accommodations located at 31 Tiemann Place, New York, N.Y.  The 
          Administrator ordered a rent reduction for failure to maintain 
          required services.  

               The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully 
          considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this 

               This proceeding was commenced on January 20, 1986 when 8 of 
          the 46 tenants joined in filing a Statement of Complaint of 
          Decrease in Building-Wide Services wherein they alleged the 
          following services deficiencies:

                    1.   Porter no longer available resulting in decreased 
                         maintenance to public areas,

                    2.   Decrease in laundry room hours,

                    3.   Interior walls cracking, leaking water, shifting, 
                         bulging and plaster crumbling,

                    4.   Floors rotting, missing tiles, sinking and 

                    5.   Building exterior bricks not secure, leaking water, 
                         rotting window frames, insecure grill work  
                         and fire escape rusting,

                    6.   Window frames rotted, immobile windows, panes loose 

          BD 420268 RO

                    without frames, drafty or warped frames, broken 

                    7.   Apartment doors not secure in frames with some not 
                         swinging freely, some doors not fireproof, 
                         inoperative locks, no numbers,

                    8.   Electricity insufficient, broken outlets in walls 
                         and ceiling, inadequate apartment wiring,

                    9.   Plumbing inadequate with poor sink and tub 
                         drainage, sinks detaching from wall, and loose, 
                         cracked and leaking toilets and sinks,

                   10.   Elevator unsafe, stops unevenly and shakes with 
                         doors not always closing,

                   11.   Mailbox locks insecure,

                   12.   Malfunctioning intercoms,

                   13.   Fire alarms insufficient and broken,

                   14.   Water discolored with fluctuating pressure for both 
                         hot and cold water,

                   15.   Boiler not functioning properly,

                   16.   Fire exits locked,

                   17.   Mice and roach infestation and extermination 
                         notices not posted or hours inconvenient.

               The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded 
          an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on May 19, 
          1986 and stated, in substance, that services were being maintained.  
               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          building.  The inspection was conducted on May 28, 1986 and 
          revealed the following:

                    1.   Public areas not being maintained properly; no 
                         evidence of regular janitorial service,

                    2.   No evidence of specific laundry rooms in building,

                    3.   Public area windows broken,

                    4.   Public area hallways have peeling paint and 
                    5.   Public area floors broken in several areas,

          BD 420268 RO

                    6.   Building exterior brickwork in need of repair,

                    7.   Grills in need of painting

                    8.   Fire escapes in need of repair

                    9.   Elevator in need of repair,

                   10.   Broken mailboxes,

                   11.   Intercom system not working,

                   12.   No access to basement,

                   13.   No regular extermination service; vermin 

                   14.   No hot water at time of inspection,

                   15.   Low water pressure,
                   16.   Building fire system inadequate.

          The inspector also reported that there was no discoloration of the 

               The Administrator ordered a re-inspection of the building.  
          That inspection was conducted on October 14, 1986 and revealed that 
          the public areas were in need of painting and plastering and that 
          the floor tiles in various public areas were broken.  The inspector 
          also reported that the public areas both within and without the 
          building were being maintained, that the exterior brickwork had 
          been repaired, that the fire escapes had been repaired and painted, 
          that the grill work in front of the building had been painted, that 
          the elevator was working at the time of inspection, that the 
          mailboxes were replaced, that the intercom system was functioning, 
          that the basement access area was locked, that there was no 
          evidence of vermin infestation, that hot water was being provided, 
          that water pressure was adequate and that there was no water 

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on March 
          5, 1987 and ordered a rent reduction of $7.00 per month for rent 
          controlled tenants and an amount equal to the most recent guideline 
          adjustment for rent stabilized tenants based on the inspector's 

               On appeal the owner, through counsel, states that it was 
          denied due process based on the failure to give it notice of the 
          inspection and a copy of the inspector's report.  The owner further 
          states that the order here under review is defective because it 
          does not indicate which tenants were affected by the service 

          BD 420268 RO

          decrease and order a rent reduction only for those tenants.  
          Finally, the owner argues that the services reductions found by the 
          Administrator were too minor to warrant a rent reduction.  Two 
          tenants filed responses and stated that the services deficiencies 
          set forth in the order here under review had not been corrected and 
          requested that the petition be denied.
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               With regard to the owner's contention that it was entitled to 
          notice of the inspection and a copy of the inspector's report, DHCR 
          policy, as upheld by the courts, is that the filing of the 
          complaint puts the owner on adequate notice of the existence of 
          services deficiencies and the need to investigate. (see Empress 
          Manor Apartments v. DHCR 538 N.Y.S.2d 49, 2nd. Dept. [1989]).  The 
          owner was afforded due process by the proper service of the tenants 

               With regard to the owner's assertion that the tenants must be 
          directly affected by the services defect to qualify for a rent 
          reduction, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator was not 
          required to so find before issuing the order here under review.  In 
          their complaint, the tenants specifically alleged the existence of 
          defective conditions in public areas and those which were confirmed 
          by the physical inspection were included in the Administrator's 
          order.  Since the public areas are available for use by all 
          tenants, they are all "affected" by the existence of these services 
          defects.  The Administrator correctly ordered a rent reduction 
          based on the report of the inspector.

               Finally, with regard to the alleged de minimis nature of the 
          conditions, prior orders of the Commissioner have held that peeling 
          paint and plaster in the public areas as well  as defective public 
          area floors, are proper subjects for building-wide rent reductions 
          based on a finding of decreased building-wide services.  The 
          Commissioner also notes that Section 26-515 of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law does not permit the DHCR to take the severity of 
          the decreased services into account in determining whether to order 
          a rent reduction.  Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent 
          Stabilization Code, a tenant may apply to the DHCR for a rent 
          reduction based on decreased services and the Division is required 
          to reduce the rent upon a finding that such services have been 
          reduced.  Pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction 
          Regulations for New York City a tenant may apply to the DHCR for a 
          rent reduction based on decreased services and the Administrator is 
          empowered to reduce the rent by an amount determined by the 
          reasonable exercise of discretion.  Repairs and maintenance are 
          included in the definition of required and essential services.  
          Accordingly, the order here under review is affirmed.  

               The Commissioner notes that the owner has applied for rent 

          BD 420268 RO

          restoration and said application was granted in part in an order 
          issued on September 26, 1991 (see Docket No. FD 530045 OR).

               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code and 
          Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City it is 

               ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, 
          denied, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same 
          hereby is, affirmed.


                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner


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