BL 210195-RO
                                    STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:                  
          BL 210195-RO
                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                 BEL AIR LEASING CO.,             DOCKET NO.:
                                                  BG 210101-S

                                                  2775 East 12th Street
                                   PETITIONER     Apt. 212, Brooklyn, NY


          The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative 
          review of an order issued on November 25, 1987 concerning the 
          housing accommodations relating to the above-described docket 
          number wherein the Administrator ordered a rent reduction based on 
          a finding of a decrease in services.

          The issue in this appeal is whether the Administrator's order was 

          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 petition for review.

          This proceeding was commenced on July 27, 1987 by the rent- 
          stabilized tenant filing an individual complaint of decrease in 
          services, alleging inter alia that the refrigerator gasket is 
          defective; that the kitchen linoleum is loose and curled up; and 
          that there is vermin infestation in the apartment.

          On August 7, 1987, the Division sent the owner a copy of the 
          complaint, with a warning that the "(f)ailure to file an answer 
          within twenty (20) days from the date appearing on this notice 
          shall be considered a default and may result in a determination 
          based on the record as presently before the agency."

          BL 210195-RO

          After more than twenty (20) days from August 7, 1987 had elapsed, 
          i.e. on September 22, 1987, a Division staff member made a physical 
          inspection of the subject apartment and reported that the 
          refrigerator gasket does not seal properly, is in poor condition 
          and needs replacement; that the kitchen linoleum is separated at 
          the seams; and that there is evidence of infestation.

          On November 25, 1987, the Administrator issued the order hereunder 
          review, reducing the tenant's rent to the level in effect prior to 
          the last rent guidelines increase, effective September 1, 1987, 
          based on a finding of a decrease in services, citing the above- 
          mentioned items in the inspector's report.

          After the issuance of the order appealed from, i.e. on November 27, 
          1987, the owner filed an answer to the tenant's complaint, alleging 
          that it had answered on November 12, 1987.  The owner submitted a 
          copy of a work order purportedly signed by the tenant acknowledging 
          receipt of a replacement refrigerator on September 29, 1987.  No 
          such November 12, 1987 letter by the owner is found in the Adminis-
          trator's file.

          On January 21, 1988, the tenant filed an affirmation of non- 
          compliance as to the defective kitchen linoleum and the vermin 

          In this petition, the owner contends in substance that it filed an 
          answer to the tenant's complaint, which was allegedly received by 
          the Division on November 23, 1987 prior to the issuance of the 
          Administrator's order; that the tenant did receive a good replace- 
          ment refrigerator; that purchase orders for replacement linoleum 
          were made, but the tenant refused, preferring special  linoleum and 
          not of the same quality; and that exterminator services which are 
          announced to the tenant are provided twice a month.  The owner sub- 
          mitted a copy of an illegibly dated return receipt and a copy of an 
          answer stating that the refrigerator had been replaced.  The owner 
          offered no evidence of purchase orders for linoleum or of tenant's 
          refusal of access, but submitted only copies of letters warning the 
          tenant to accept the linoleum offered.

          In answer, the tenant denied in substance the allegations as set 
          forth in the owner's petition, except for the refrigerator which 
          had been replaced, and otherwise asserted that the owner never 
          intended to replace the kitchen linoleum but merely "to leave the 
          old vermin-infested floor covering unremoved and to place the new 
          floor covering over it."

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

          BI 230194-RO

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires the Division 
          to reduce the legal regulated rent to the level in effect prior to 
          the most recent guidelines adjustment, upon application by the 
          tenant, for the period for which it is found that the owner had 
          failed to maintain required services.  Required services are 
          defined by Section 2520.6(r) to include repairs and maintenance.

          A review of the evidence of record shows that the Administrator 
          based his determination on the entire record, including the results 
          of the Division's September 22, 1987 inspection report which 
          identified and corroborated the tenant's claims in the complaint.
          Therefore, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator correctly 
          determined that the owner had failed to maintain services and 
          properly reduced the tenant's rent.

          The unclear assertion that the owner filed a timely answer to the 
          tenant's complaint is not supported by the owner's submission of 
          vague copies of the alleged answer.  Said copies have an illegible 
          return receipt and merely indicate repair of the refrigerator but 
          not of the other numerous defective conditions.

          The Commissioner notes that the petitioner offered no evidence of 
          purchase orders for linoleum or of tenant's refusal of access 
          either in the proceeding below prior to the issuance of the Admin- 
          istrator's order or by attachment to its petition.  The copies of 
          letters to the tenant about the linoleum are irrelevant and fail to 
          establish the scheduling for the repairs or the definite resto- 
          ration of a defective kitchen linoleum.  In addition, the tenant 
          disputed the owner's intention to replace the defective kitchen 
          linoleum by describing it as a ploy merely "to leave the old 
          vermin-infested floor covering unremoved and to place the new floor 
          covering over it."

          The unsubstantiated assertion that the exterminator services are 
          being provided twice a month, which the tenant allegedly failed to 
          avail of, does not establish error.  The record discloses that the 
          Division forwarded the tenant's complaint to the owner on August 7, 
          1987, with a warning that the owner has to respond within twenty 
          (20) days, affording the owner notice of the conditions cited in 
          the order.  The owner failed to respond within that span of twenty 
          (20) days.  Further, the owner had three (3) months from the 
          mailing of the tenant's complaint in which to make repairs prior to 
          the issuance of the order appealed from, but the owner failed to do 

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and 

          BI 230194-RO

          that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, 


                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Acting Deputy Commissioner



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