OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                   GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET 
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                           :  DOCKET NO.: BJ130275RO
                    GEORGE SUBRAJ,            :  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                              :  DOCKET NO.: AI130003B
                                PETITIONER    :                             


               On October 8, 1987, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review of an order issued on September 
          3, 1987 by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, 
          Jamaica, NY, concerning various rent stabilized housing 
          accommodations at the premises known as 88-15 144th Street, 
          Jamaica, NY, wherein the Administrator ordered a rent reduction 
          based on a finding of a decrease in building-wide services.
               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 administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was commenced on September 4, 1986 by tenant 
          representatives and 25 joining tenant-signatories filing a 
          complaint of a decrease in building-wide services, alleging 
          numerous defective conditions including unclean public areas 
          (hallways and stairways), broken mailboxes, unsanitary garbage 
          accumulations, and unclean incinerator rooms.  The Division mailed 
          a copy of the complaint to the owner on October 1, 1986.

               On October 14, 1986 and on November 18, 1986, the owner filed 
          answers essentially denying the allegations.  In the latter answer 
          the owner requested a DHCR inspection as well as prior notification 
          of it to afford him an opportunity to be present, further stating 
          that he wished to be given an opportunity to correct any defective 
          conditions should any be found by the inspector.

               On February 4, 1987, a Division staff member conducted a 
          physical inspection of the subject premises.  The inspector 
          reported that the public areas were in need of cleaning; that six 

          DOCKET NO.: BJ130275RO

          (6) mailbox doors were broken; that there were signs of vermin 
          droppings in the stored garbage area in the basement; and that 
          there were dirty floors and odors in the incinerator rooms. 

               In the order issued on September 3, 1987, the Administrator 
          reduced the tenants' rents to the level that was in effect prior to 
          the last rent guidelines increase based on a building-wide decrease 
          in services, citing the above-mentioned items in the inspector's 

               In the petition the owner claims that the order is arbitrary 
          and capricious because 1) the inspection was conducted without 
          notice to the owner despite the owner's request for same, thereby 
          violating the owner's right to due process; 2) the Administrator 
          failed to act in accordance with established agency policies and 
          procedures by not providing the owner with the results of the 
          inspection despite his request for same, thereby not affording the 
          owner an opportunity to correct the conditions prior to imposing 
          the rent reduction; and 3) the services in question are minor 
          repair items which are necessary in the normal maintenance of a 
          building.  It is further asserted that, assuming the cited items 
          are found to rise above minor conditions, the Administrator should 
          have limited the resulting rent reduction to those tenants directly 
          affected by the service decrease (e.g., the finding of six broken 
          mailboxes should not have resulted in a rent reduction for all of 
          the tenants in the proceeding); therefore the proceeding should be 
          remanded for the purpose of determining which tenants were affected 
          by the service reductions.  Based on these claims, the owner seeks 
          reversal or modification of the order.

               In answer to the petition, one tenant of Apt. 5G states, in 
          pertinent part, that there is no requirement under the Rent 
          Stabilization Code for an owner to be afforded prior notice of an 
          inspection; that there was no prejudice to the owner as a result of 
          the procedure followed in this case; that the inadequate cleaning 
          found in the common areas gives rise to vermin and odors, affecting 
          all tenants; and that the broken mailboxes put tenants at risk of 
          losing important mail.

               In rebuttal to the tenant's answer, the owner adds that, 
          despite the absence of specific support under the Code, the 
          Administrator's failure to provide the owner with both notice of 
          the inspection and inspection results prior to issuance of the 
          order violated due process because such failure represents a 
          departure from the procedure followed in other cases.  In support, 
          the owner makes reference to, and submits, two agency forms  
          involving rent restoration proceedings (unrelated to the instant 
          case) wherein the results of a prior inspection were provided to 
          the affected owners.
          DOCKET NO.: BJ130275RO

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that the owner's petition 
          should be denied.

               Pursuant to Section 2523.4 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 by Section 
          2520.6(r) to include repairs, maintenance, janitorial service, and 
          removal of refuse.
               Review of the evidence of record shows that the Administrator 
          based his determination on the entire record, including the results 
          of the Division's February 4, 1987 inspection which substantiated 
          the tenants' allegations in their complaint.  Therefore, the 
          Commissioner finds that the Administrator correctly determined that 
          the owner had failed to maintain services and properly reduced the 
          tenants' rents. 

               There was no error with the Division's failure to provide the 
          owner with prior notice of the inspection (as was requested).  The 
          applicable regulations, agency practice and due process 
          considerations do not require this be done.  Similarly, there was 
          no duty for the agency to forward the inspection report to the 
          owner for the purpose of allowing him an opportunity to correct the 
          defective conditions cited therein, further noting that the owner's 
          reference to agency processing in rent restoration proceedings is 
          not relevant to the instant case.  Having received a copy of the 
          tenants' complaint in October, 1986, the owner was on notice as to 
          the allegations in the proceeding and was afforded an opportunity 
          to investigate and make corrections as necessary prior to the 
          issuance of the Administrator's order.  

               As to the claim about the de minimis nature of the subject 
          items, the inspector's report did not reflect any of the cited 
          conditions as being minor in nature.  To the contrary, three of the 
          inspector's findings (enumerated in the order under items 1, 3 and 
          4) evinced unsanitary conditions throughout the building's common 
          areas. Furthermore, the record before the Administrator contains no 
          evidence other than the owner's own statements to show effort by 
          the owner to address any of the items of the complaint (e.g., 
          submission of an exterminating contract).  As such, the 
          Commissioner finds this claim to be self-serving.

               The owner's assertion that the rent reduction should apply 
          only to those tenants directly affected by the service reductions 
          is not supportable.  As noted above, unsanitary conditions were  

          DOCKET NO.: BJ130275RO

          determined to exist throughout, and such conditions necessarily 

          affected each of the complainants.  Therefore, the owner's request 
          for remand is denied.

               The Division's records indicate that the owner's rent 
          restoration application was granted on April 19, 1989 (DRO Docket 
          No. CH130037OR).

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

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


                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner


TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name