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

          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.:              
                                                 BK 410144 RT                
                                                 RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S    
                                                 DOCKET NO.:                 
                                                 BC 420437 - S
                      TERENCE KIRK                       

                              PETITIONER      : 


               On November 18, 1987, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed 
          a petition for administrative review of an order issued on October 
          21, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodation known as Apartment 3F (#4), 98 Eighth Avenue, New 
          York, N.Y., wherein the Administrator denied the tenant's 
          application for a rent decrease.

               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.  

               The tenant commenced this proceeding on March 13, 1987 by 
          filing a complaint in which he alleged that from the time he first 
          moved into his apartment in March 1970 until June 1980 heat was 
          provided from a central heating system.  In June 1980, the prior 
          owner installed a gas heater in the tenant's apartment and 
          connected it to the gas pipe in the kitchen which provides gas for 
          the stove.  The tenant is billed by Con Edison for the gas this 
          heater uses. He added that he tries not to use the heater because 
          he thinks it is an illegal safety and health hazard.

               The owner was served with the complaint on April 8, 1987 but  
          did not respond.

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BK 410144 RT

               A DHCR inspector visited the subject apartment on August 25, 
          1987 and confirmed that the radiators had been removed and a gas 
          heater was installed.  

               The Administrator's order stated that the facts did not 
          warrant the relief requested under Sections 2520.6(r) and 2523.4 of 
          the Rent Stabilization Code and denied the tenant's application for 
          a rent reduction.

               In the petition for administrative review, the tenant asserts 
          first that the order is legally wrong because it cites sections of 
          the Rent Stabilization Code and the apartment is rent controlled.  
          The tenant further contends that the order is factually incorrect 
          because the elimination of central steam heat and the installation 
          of a gas heater for which the tenant has to pay for the gas 
          warrants a rent reduction.  The tenant again asserted that the gas 
          heater in his apartment is an illegal health and safety hazard.

               In answer to the petition, the owner states that the tenant's 
          statement is incorrect and that the rent charged is proper.

               After careful consideration of the entire evidence of record, 
          the Commissioner is of the opinion that the tenant's petition 
          should be granted.

               The tenant indicated in the complaint that he first took 
          occupancy of the subject apartment in March 1970 and that he is a 
          rent controlled tenant.  The landlord has not disputed this.

               Pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction 
          Regulations applicable to rent controlled apartments, a rent 
          reduction is authorized where there has been a decrease in the 
          dwelling space, essential services, furniture, furnishings or 
          equipment required to be provided.  The rent reduction is to be an 
          amount which the administrator finds to be the reduction in the 
          rental value of the housing accommodation because of the decrease 
          in space, services, furniture, furnishings or equipment.  Essential 
          services are defined in Section 2200.3 as those essential services 
          which the landlord furnished or which he was obliged to furnish  on 
          April 30, 1962, and which were included in the maximum rent for the 
          housing accommodation on that date. 

               In the instant case, the tenant's statement of facts was 
          confirmed by the physical inspection and not disputed by the 
          landlord.  According to these facts a central steam heating system 
          was maintained and operated by the owner at his expense and was an 

          essential service provided on April 30, 1962 and included in the 
          maximum rent on that date.  The removal of this heating system 

          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: BK 410144 RT

          constitutes a decrease in an essential service for which a rent 
          reduction is warranted.  The installation of a gas heater in the 
          tenant's apartment which the tenant must pay to operate and which 
          may in fact be illegal is not an approved equivalent substitute, 
          even though the tenant is not deprived of heat.  Accordingly, the 
          Commissioner finds that the tenant's rent should be reduced by 50 
          per cent per month effective the first rental payment following 
          October 21, 1987, the date of issuance of the Administrator's 
          order.  The owner is further directed to restore the central 
          heating system.  If the owner fails to restore the service within 
          30 days, the tenant is advised to commence a noncompliance 
          proceeding with this agency.

               The tenant may also wish to file a harassment complaint 
          against the landlord.

               The tenant is also advised to contact the New York City 
          Department of Buildings for information on whether the heating unit 
          in his apartment is legal.

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent and Eviction 
          Regulations for New York City, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is granted 
          and the Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby is 
          modified in accordance with this order and opinion.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner



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