BJ 510199-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


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          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:             
                                                  BJ 510199-RO
               ALSTATLEVINE REALTY, INC.,    
                                                  RENT      ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.: 
                                  PETITIONER      BA 510363-S 
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW  
                     IN PART AND MODIFYING ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER


          On October 6, 1987 the above named petitioner-owner filed a peti 
          tion for Administrative Review  against  an  order  of  the  Rent
          Administrator issued September  3,  1987.   The  order  concerned
          housing accommodations known as Apartment  5-C  located  at  1795
          Riverside Drive, New York, New York.  The  Administrator  reduced
          the rent for failure to maintain services.

          The Commissioner has reviewed the record and h s  carefully  con-
          sidered that portion  relevant  to  the  issues  raised  by  this
          appeal.

          The tenant commenced this proceeding by filing a complaint of de 
          creased services on January 4, 1987.  The tenant complained about 
          the following conditions - foyer floor out of level  and  swelled
          in one spot, bathroom floor in bad condition, and  bathroom  wall
          tiles uneven and discolored.

          The petitioner answered the complaint and stated that  the  bath-
          room tiles were repaired  and  that  the  foyer  floor  would  be
          repaired.  A physical inspection of the apartment  was  conducted
          on July 15, 1987.  That inspection revealed the following:

               1.   Repairs to foyer floor done in unworkmanlike manner.
               2.   Bathroom ceiling cracked and bulging.

          The Administrator's order duly followed.



          On appeal, the owner alleges that the tenant agreed to accept the 
          apartment as is in consideration of  a  reduced  initial  rental.
          Petitioner also states that the tenant denied  access  to  repair
          properly the flooring, which requires only  a  coat  of  shellac.
          Petitioner points out that the Administrator  improperly  reduced
          the rent based on the bathroom ceiling, since the ceiling was not 
          a part of the tenant's original complain .   Finally,  the  peti-
          tioner in a separate filing, provides a letter of  withdrawal  of







          BJ 510199-RO
          complaint from the tenant.  In that letter the  tenant  requested
          the complaint be dismissed  with  prejudice  and  the  proceeding
          terminated.  The record  contains  no  other  response  from  the
          tenant.

          After careful consideration of the evidence  in  the  record  the
          Commissioner is of the  opinion  that  this  petition  should  be
          granted in part and the Commissioner's order should be modified.

          Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code,  requires  DHCR
          to reduce the rent,  upon  application  by  the  tenant,  upon  a
          finding that the owner has failed to maintain required  services.
          Required services are defined by  Section  2520.6(r)  to  include
          that space and those services which the owner was maintaining  or
          was required  to  maintain  on  the  applicable  base  date  plus
          additional space or services provided or required  thereafter  by
          applicable  law,  including  but  not  limited  to  repairs,  and
          decorating and maintenance.

          Section 2520.13 of the Code provides that;

                   "an agreement by the tenant to waive the ben-
                    efit of any provision of  the  Rent  Stabiliza-
                    tion Law or this Code is  void;  provided  that
                    based  upon  a  negotiated  settlement  between
                    the  parties  and  with  the  approval  of  the
                    DHCR, or  a  court  of  competent  jurisdiction
                    where a tenant is  represented  by  counsel,  a
                    tenant  may  withdraw,  with   prejudice,   and
                    complaint pending before the DHCR."

          According to these Code sections, the purported agreement by  the
          tenant to rent the apartment in an "as is" condition in  exchange
          for a reduced rental would be an impermissible waiver of a statu 
          tory benefit and therefore does not  relieve  the  owner  of  the
          obligation to provide required services includi g  necessary  re-
          pairs.  

          The attempted withdrawal of the complaint  is  also  unacceptable
          since it  does  not  comply  with  the  requirements  of  Section
          2520.13.  Once the Administrator's order was issued finding a 


          failure to maintain services and ordering a rent reduction, the 
          tenant's  complaint was no longer "pending".  The alleged settle 
          ment between the parties does not indicate that the repairs  have
          been done or that the tenant has received any  consideration  for
          withdrawing the complaint.  Accordingly, the attempted withdrawal 
          is unacceptable and has no effect on the rent reduction order.

          The owner, however, is correct in  the  contention  that  a  rent
          reduction for a cracked and bulging bathroom ceiling is  inappro-
          priate since this condition was  not  included  in  the  tenant's
          complaint.  This item should be deleted from the  Administrator's
          order.  

          The owner's assertion that the tenant has  denied  access  is  an
          inappropriate matter for  consideration  in  this  administrative







          BJ 510199-RO
          appeal which is limited in scope of  review,  according  to  Code
          Section 2529.6 to facts or  evidence  before  the  Administrator.
          The owner did not raise the access issue when the proceeding  was
          before the Administrator and has submitted  o  evidence  to  sup-
          port this allegation.  Moreover, the eviden e  of  record  estab-
          lishes that repairs have been done in the apartment, albeit in an 
          unworkmanlike manner.

          The owner is advised to file a rent restoration application  when
          it can establish that the foyer floor has been repaired.


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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby  is,  granted
          in part 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


                                          
    

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