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STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: BI 230264-RO
JACK JACOBS, DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
DOCKET NOS.: ZAJ 230114-B
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
IN PART, AND MODIFYING ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER
On September 21, 1987, the above-named owner filed Petitions for
Administrative Review of orders issued on August 24 and August 27,
1987, by a Rent Administrator concerning various apartments
wherein the rents were reduced for various service deficiencies.
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 owner.
On October 17, 1986 the tenant of Apartment 4D filed a complaint
of decrease in building-wide services with the Division of Housing
and Community Renewal, including an enumeration of service
decreases within Apartment 4D. The Administrator mailed a copy of
Form RA-81 to the tenant for completion in order to process the
individual apartment complaints. The tenant did not respond. The
building-wide complaints were, among other things, that the roof
was leaking; the lights in the yard were defective; the fence was
broken and dirty; the bell or return buzzer was out of order; the
boiler was broken or defective; the door to the building entrance
was broken; the fire escape was rusty; there was a leak in the
public halls; the mailbox was broken; there was broken window
glass; and paint was peeling in the public halls.
In response to the tenant's complaint, the owner alleged, among
other things, that the tenant's allegations were an attempt to
harass him, since she could not pay the rent.
On February 11, 1987 a physical inspection of the premises was
carried out by the DHCR. The inspector, in his report, noted,
among other things, that the fire escape was filthy and rusted;
that the hallway and stairwell were in need of sweeping and
mopping; that Apartment 1 had a broken lock, needing repair; that
there is water under the tar on the roof, which requires repair.
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On August 24, 1987, the Rent Administrator issued the first order
here under review, Docket No. AJ-230115-B, finding that a
diminution of services had occurred, and reducing the individual
tenant's rents to the levels in effect prior to the last rent
guidelines increases which commenced before the effective date of
the rent reduction, and reducing the rent-controlled tenant's rent
by $7.00 per month.
The second proceeding was commenced on October 24, 1986, with the
filing of a complaint of decrease in building-wide services with
the DHCR by the tenant of Apartment A-4, representing twelve
tenants. The tenants complained, among other things, that the
roof door had no lock; that there was exposed broken glass from
Apartment A-2; that there was no night light on the left and back
of the building; that the garden fence needed repairs; the roof
leaks; the fire escapes need scraping and painting; and that there
was no full-time superintendent.
In response to this complaint, the owner alleged, among other
things, that there is a lock on the roof door; that the broken
glass outside Apartment A-2 was to be repaired by the tenant of
that apartment, who broke it; that the garden fence has been
repaired; that a complete new roof was installed, and there are no
leaks; that there is no violation, according to the Building
Department, regarding the fire escape requiring painting or
scraping; and that there is a full-time superintendent.
On March 25 and May 7, 1987, physical inspections of the premises
were conducted by the DHCR. The inspectors noted, among other
things, that there were two cracked panes of glass which need
repair in the main lobby right and left sides of stairwell; that
the rail fence outside the building needs repair; that the entire
stairwell on the right side of the building is in need of sweeping
and mopping; that the building rear light and timer is defective.
On August 27, 1987, the Rent Administrator issued the second order
here under review, (Docket No. AJ-230114-B), reducing, for
stabilized tenants, the rent to the level in effect prior to the
last rent guideline increase commencing before January 1, 1987,
the effective da e of this reduction and reducing the rent-
controlled tenant's rent by $7.50 per month.
The owner filed timely petitions for administrative review of each
order. The consideration and determination of these appeals is
In his petition against the order under Docket No. AJ-230115-B,
the owner contends that all items were cured prior to the order.
In his petition against the order Docket No. AJ-230114-B, the
owner alleges among other things, that the broken panes have been
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replaced; that there is nothing wrong with the fence; that
complaint regarding the right stairwell requiring cleaning is
unfounded; that there is no "timer" in the rear, that the light
bulb has been replaced, and that he has not received notice of
many of the service deficiencies listed.
The Commissioner mailed a correct copy of the order under Docket
No. AJ-230114-B to the petitioner on January 2, 1991, affording
him an opportunity to respond.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that these petitions should be granted in part, and that the
Administrator's order should be modified.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code:
A tenant may apply to the DHCR for a reduction of the
legal regulated rent to the level in effect prior to the
most recent guidelines adjustment, and the DHCR shall so
reduce the rent for the period for which it is found
that the owner has failed to maintain required services.
Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include
repairs and maintenance.
The Commissioner finds that the Administrator properly based his
determination on the entire record, including the results of the
on-site physical inspections conducted on February 11, March 25
and May 7, 1987 and that pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the
Code, the Administrator was mandated to reduce the rent upon
determining that the owner had failed to maintain services.
The Commissioner notes, however, that one service had been
duplicated in orders under Dockets AJ-230115-B and AJ-230114-B,
i.e., the $3.00 monthly reduction for the rent-controlled tenant
for the cleaning of the public hallways and stairways.
Accordingly, that amount is restored, and the total monthly
reduction for the rent-controlled tenant is reduced to $11.50.
The Commissioner acknowledges that the Administrator apparently
erred in his original mailing to the owner of page 2 of an
unrelated order. To that extent, the owner's argument regarding a
failure to receive due process, is granted. However, that error
has been corrected, as noted above, and the owner was not
prejudiced thereby the owner's further allegation that he had
received no notice of any of the items until receiving the order
is belied by the evidence of record, which includes the owner's
responses to the complaint, received in December, 1986.
With regard to the owner's allegation that no inspection had
occurred, since there is no "timer" on the rear light, the
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Commissioner notes that the inspector's inartful use of the word
"timer" instead of "electric eye" did not impact on the result of
the order; the mechanism controlling the light was defective, and
the light was not lit.
This order is issued without prejudice to the filing by the owner
of an application for restoration of rents when all services have
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted in
part and that the Rent Administrator's orders be, and the same
hereby are, consolidated and modified pursuant to this order.