ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BD 510296-RO 


                                  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.  BD  510296-RO
                                                 D.R.O. DOCKET NO.:     
                                              :  ZAH-410515-S            

                                                 Tenant:     Paula    Walzer
             DYCKMAN ASSOCIATES,
                                 PETITIONER   :  
          ------------------------------------X 

            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
            AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER

               On April 23, 1987 the above named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review  against  an  order  issued  on
          April 13, 1987 by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, 
          Jamaica, New York concerning housing accommodations known as  2-12
          Seaman Avenue, New York, New York, Apartment No.  5G  wherein  the
          Rent  Administrator  determined  that  the  owner  had  failed  to
          maintain services and, based thereon, reduced the tenant's rent.  

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

               The applicable sections of the Law are Sections 9NYCRR 2520.6 
          and 2525.2 of the Rent Stabilization Code and  Section  26-514  of
          the Rent Stabilization Law.

               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 originally commenced on August  28,  1986
          by the tenant filing a complaint of decrease in services in  which
          she alleged, among other things, that the living room had a broken 
          and  defective  painted  and  plastered  surface,  that  a  recent
          inadequate tile job had left  buckling  bathroom  tiles  with  the
          grout already having fallen  off,  that  the  bathroom  floor  had
          cracks in the tile, that the tiles were beginning to come off, and 
          that moisture seeping in between the double-glazed panels  of  the
          bedroom window had fogged the entire window.  With  her  complaint
          the tenant enclosed two photographs of  tiles  buckling  near  the
          bathtub faucet handles and two photographs showing 6 tiles  having
          fallen off the wall into the bathtub.




               On September 10, 1986 the owner was sent a copy of the 
          tenant's complaint.  By answer dated September 15, 1986 the  owner






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BD 510296-RO 
          indicated that a work order had been made  out  and  that  repairs
          would soon be made.  By letter dated October 28,  1986  the  owner
          submitted a contractor's work order dated October 3, 1986 stating: 
          "Foyer wall installed;  bathroom  wall  and  tiles  installed-wall
          broken by plumber to fix leak."  The tenant signed the work  order
          beneath the phrase "[t]he above work  has  been  completed  to  my
          satisfaction."

               On December 19, 1986 a DHCR staff member conducted a physical 
          inspection of the subject  apartment,  and  reported  among  other
          things that:

                    -(Bedroom) Paint and plaster is water stained 
                      at 2 areas of the ceiling.  Window sill is  
                      water stained.
                    -(Livingroom) Wall near the ceiling has been 
                      replastered in an unworkmanlike manner, 
                      lumpy at areas. 
                    -(Bathroom) Broken and missing bathroom wall
                      and floor ceramic tiles.
                    -There was a mass of moisture and fogging of
                     of windows in the bedroom and living room.
                     The entire windows, double-glazed panels
                     were full of moisture and were foggy.

               In an order issued on April 13, 1987 the  Rent  Administrator
          found that there had been a decrease in services, and reduced  the
          rent effective October 1, 1986.

               In an Affirmation of Non-Compliance submitted April 16,  1987
          the tenant contended  that  "[b]edroom  ceiling  was  scraped  and
          plastered, but not painted.  The window in the  bedroom,  not  the
          living room, is foggy and wet.  All  the  other  conditions  still
          exist, and the bathroom floor has worsened by cracking."    

               In this petition, the owner contends in substance that it has 
          completed repairs of the items listed  by  the  tenant;  that  the
          tenant signed a  work  order  indicating  that  repairs  had  been
          completed to her satisfaction; that, as stated  in  the  completed
          work order, the  bathroom  tiles  were  repaired;  the  foyer  and
          bathroom ceilings were plastered, and  the  entire  apartment  was
          scraped, painted and plastered; that the rent reduction was  based
          only on lack of repairs of minor water stains and  foggy  windows;
          that the DHCR obviously did not  reinspect  the  apartment  before
          granting a rent reduction; that the DHCR never  indicated  to  the
          owner  that  the  work  was  not  completed   or   was   completed
          unsatisfactorily; and that a rent  reduction  should  be  used  to
          penalize only an owner who refuses to  correct  conditions  in  an
          apartment, and not an owner who makes all efforts to, and in  fact
          does, comply with requests to make repairs.  With its petition the 
          owner has enclosed among other things a  February  18,  1986  work
          order, signed by the tenant as having been completed to her 


          satisfaction, for the contractor to "scrape, plaster and pai t  3-
          room apartment complete.   Plaster  bathroom  and  foyer  ceilings
          complete."   
            
               In answer, the tenant asserts among  other  things  that  the






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BD 510296-RO 
          October 3, 1986 work order about fixing  the  large  hole  in  the
          bathroom wall involved only one  of  many  problems  with  falling
          tile, and  not  the  problem  which  she  photographed;  that  the
          bathroom floor tiles crack a little more each day  and  the  tiles
          are slowly but surely coming off;  that  the  tiles  constitute  a
          chronic problem which the owner attends to only sloppily at  best;
          and that she will be happy to  withdraw  her  complaint  when  the
          problems in her apartment  are  corrected  and  the  repairs  last
          longer than three weeks. 

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition  should
          be denied; and that  the  Rent  Administrator's  order  should  be
          modified.

               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 repairs and maintenance.   Section  26-514
          of the Rent Stabilization Law mandates a reduction in rent upon  a
          finding that the owner has failed to maintain  services.   In  the
          present case an inspection took place  in  December  1986,  2  1/2
          months after the tenant signed a work order  indicating  "bathroom
          wall and tiles installed" and 10 months after she  signed  a  work
          order indicating satisfaction with  work  consisting  of  "scrape,
          plaster and paint 3-room  apartment  complete".   Although  noting
          that a new roof  had  been  installed  the  inspection  found,  as
          alleged by the tenant in August, that the bedroom ceiling had been 
          damaged by water leakage.  Neither the October 3, 1986 work  order
          nor a September  15,  1986  work  order  unsigned  by  the  tenant
          concerned  this  item.    The   inspection   found   unworkmanlike
          plastering  of  the  living  room  wall,  despite  the  (unsigned)
          September 15th work order to check the living room wall  that  had
          been painted and plastered.  The  tenant's  August  complaint  had
          mentioned unevenness, although she ascribed it to unscraped  paint
          rather than plaster.  In August the tenant asserted that a  recent
          tile job had been inadequate, as the tiles were buckling  and  the
          grout was falling out.  While  acknowledging  "bathroom  wall  and
          tiles installed" in October, it appears either  that  (as  claimed
          by the tenant) this referred only to repair of one hole,  or  else
          that repairs were again inadequate,  as  the  December  inspection
          found broken and missing tiles.  In August the tenant claimed that 
          moisture had fogged  her  entire  bedroom  window.   Although  the
          (unsigned) September work order mentioned "window in  bedroom"  it
          appears that nothing was done, as the inspection found the  window
          foggy and full of moisture.  The February and October work  orders
          signed by the tenant  did  not  constitute  a  retraction  of  her
          complaint (even aside from the fact that she did not send a letter 
          to the DHCR withdrawing  the  complaint  and  the  fact  that  her
          complaint was filed 6 months after she signed  the  February  work
          order), but was rather just evidence that some work had been done. 


          However, some items complained of were not mentioned at all in the 
          work orders, some were referred to only in  part,  and  even  some
          items on which work was done were not repaired  in  a  workmanlike
          manner or did not have underlying problems  fixed.   If  a  tenant
          complains of a problem and an inspection  subsequently  finds  the
          problem to exist, an  owner  cannot  convincingly  claim  lack  of
          notice just because it attempted repairs which it considered to be 
          (but which actually were not) adequate.  When the DHCR has sent an 






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BD 510296-RO 
          owner a tenant's complaint, and has found by inspection  that  the
          allegations are correct, it may issue an order without  having  to
          give the owner further opportunity to correct conditions found  by
          the inspection, since the owner's attention was  already  directed
          to those items by the complaint.            

               Regarding the owner's contention that the rent reduction  was
          based  just  on  minor  water  stains  and  foggy   windows,   the
          Commissioner finds that the combination of the four items found by 
          the inspection is not de  minimus  but  should  be  considered  to
          constitute a service  decrease,  and  that  a  rent  reduction  is
          therefore mandated by Section 2525.2 of the Code. 

               The Administrator's order does need  to  be  changed  in  one
          respect.  The inspection found the living room window(s), as  well
          as the bedroom window, to be  defective.   However,  the  tenant's
          complaint had not put the owner on notice of any problem with  the
          living room window(s), so the  Administrator's  order  should  not
          have listed that item as  being  one  of  the  bases  for  a  rent
          reduction.  

               This Order and Opinion is issued  without  prejudice  to  the
          owner's  right  to  file  an  application  with  the  DHCR  for  a
          restoration of the rents based upon the restoration  of  services,
          if the facts so warrant.   

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law  and
          Code, 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, modified in accordance with this Order and Opinion.

          ISSUED:






                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



                                          


















          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BD 510296-RO 


















    

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