Docket Number: BD-610209-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 610209-RO
                                              :  
               RALPH LANGSAM  ASSOCIATES,          DRO  DOCKET  NO.:  BA  610058-HW
                 
                                PETITIONER    : 
          ------------------------------------X                           
            
                ORDER AND OPINION ON RECONSIDERATION GRANTING PETITION
                               FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On  April  15,  1987,  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          petition for administrative review against an order issued on March 
          11, 1987,  by the  District  Rent  Administrator  at  Gertz  Plaza,
          Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations  known  as
          3510 Decatur Avenue, Bronx, New York,  Apartment  1B,  wherein  the
          Administrator determined that the owner had not maintained services 
          in that  the  owner  had  failed  to  provide  adequate  heat,  and
          accordingly reduced the rent.

          On February 12, 1991, the Commissioner issued an order and  opinion
          denying the owner's  petition  and  affirming  the  Administrator's
          order.  The owner's contention that an inspection should have  been
          conducted was dismissed, since the record below contained no answer 
          from the owner or any other evidence that challenged  the  tenant's
          allegations and  was  thus  sufficient  to  support  a  finding  of
          inadequate heat.

          On April 2, 1991, pursuant to a request for  reconsideration  dated
          March 5, 1991, an order was  issued  reopening  the  administrative
          review proceeding at  the  request  of  the  owner,  who  had  also
          submitted a copy of its answer  to  the  tenants'  complaint  dated
          February 24, 1987, a receipt for mailing of certified mail on March 
          2, 1987, and a receipt for delivery thereof dated  March  4,  1987,
          which was signed by a staff member of the Division.

          Finding that the newly  discovered  evidence  related  to  a  vital
          matter, and that there was unchallenged evidence that it  had  been
          timely submitted into the record below,  the  Commissioner  ordered
          that the proceeding be reopened and that  the  tenant  be  afforded
          twenty (20) days to respond to  the  owner's  written  request  for
          reconsideration.

          The  tenant  has  not  responded  to  the   owner's   request   for
          reconsideration and the reopening of the proceeding.







          Docket Number: BD-610209-RO
          The tenant originally commenced the proceedings on January 23, 1987 
          by  filing  a  complaint  of  decrease   in   apartment   services,
          complaining that the owner had failed to  maintain  adequate  heat;
          specifically, that heat  is  only  provided  for  15  minutes  each
          morning and is never provided at night.

          The owner was served with a copy of the complaint on  February  10,
          1987 and directed  to  restore  services  and  to  respond  to  the
          tenant's allegations.

          On February 13, 1987, the tenant notified  the  Division  that  the
          owner had continued to maintain inadequate heating service.

          The owner's answer, which was received by  the  DHCR  on  March  4,
          1987, but not admitted into the record, stated that  the  apartment
          was being heated well in excess of the legally  required  55o,  and
          that the tenant's complaint therefore has no foundation.  The owner 
          contended that because it  becomes  colder  at  night,  the  tenant
          wrongfully charged that no heat was being provided.

          On March 11, 1987 the District Rent Administrator issued the  order
          hereunder review finding that a diminution of services had occurred 
          and reducing the tenant's rent to the level in effect prior to  the
          last rent guidelines increase commencing before the effective  date
          of the order.

          In its petition, dated April 15, 1987, the owner contends that  the
          rent reduction is unwarranted since there was no inspection by  the
          Division to substantiate the tenant's complaint.  The owner  claims
          that several  inspectors  from  the  Department  of  Buildings  had
          "always found the apartment properly heated."

          In its request for reconsideration, the owner further contends that 
          the Administrator's order was invalid and should be revoked because 
          it was solely, and erroneously based  on  the  owner's  failure  to
          respond.  This was why  the  Administrator  decided  to  forego  an
          inspection and to find for the  tenant  without  further  evidence.
          However, the owner continues, since it  has  been  shown  that  the
          owner did respond to the complaint, and denied its allegations, the 
          Administrator  should  then  have  conducted   an   inspection   to
          determine whether the allegations were correct.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that the owner's petition should 
          be granted and that the Administrator's order be revoked.

          The record in this case establishes that the Administrator's  order
          was entirely based upon the  owner's  failure  to  respond  to  the
          complaint and that, following the  tenant's  reaffirmation  of  her
          complaint of inadequate heat, a rent reduction was ordered  without
          any  further  investigation  by  the  Division.   Furthermore,  the
          owner's petition, since it did not assert that the owner had 






          Docket Number: BD-610209-RO
          answered the complaint, presented no reason  to  presume  that  the
          order was in any way invalid.   The  Commissioner  recognizes  that
          those determinations were  appropriate,  based  upon  the  existing
          record at that time.

          Subsequently, however, the owner has documented its timely response 
          to the complaint, and that this response was actually  received  by
          the  Division,  which   circumstances   considerately   alter   the
          complexion of this case.

          The Commissioner finds that the Administrator improperly deemed the 
          tenant's allegations admitted and  incorrectly  adjusted  the  rent
          upon a finding that the owner  failed  to  provide  adequate  heat.
          Accordingly, the reduction order must be revoked in its entirety.

          The tenant is advised to file a new complaint of  reduced  services
          should the owner fail to provide adequate heating.

          This order and opinion shall have such effect  as  to  restore  the
          tenant's rent to the level in effect prior to  the  rent  reduction
          ordered by the Rent Administrator; to direct the  payment  of  such
          arrears  by  the  tenant  in   twenty-four   (24)   equal   monthly
          installments, and to permit the  owner  to  apply  for  other  rent
          increases for which the owner  was  otherwise  eligible  since  the
          effective date of the order herein revoked.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and  Code,
          it is

          ORDERED, that this Petition be, and the same hereby is, granted and 
          that the Administrator's order be and the same hereby is revoked.

          ISSUED:



                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner 
    

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