DOCKET NO.: BL 210304 RO
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. BL 210304 RO
Allan and Maureen John DISTRICT RENT
NO. BC 230064 B
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On December 8, 1987, the above-named owners filed a petition
for administrative review of an order issued on November 12, 1987
by a District Rent Administrator concerning Various
apartments at the premises known as 657 East 21st Street,
Brooklyn, New York, wherein rent was reduced to a diminution of
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.
On March 18, 1987 several tenants filed an application for a
rent reduction based on the owners' alleged failure to maintain
building-wide services alleging, among other things, that the
vestibule door lock was defective; that there was no lock on the
roof door, and the courtyard on the left side of the building was
full of debris.
On April 17, 1987 the rent agency mailed to the owner a copy
of the tenants' complaint and a "Notice and Transmittal of
Tenant's Complaint" advising the owners that they had twenty
days, from the date of mailing, to answer the tenants' complaint.
The owners did not submit an answer.
On June 25, 1987 a physical inspection of the subject
building was carried out by the Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR). The inspector, in his report, noted that various
service defects existed in the subject building.
DOCKET NO.: BL 210304 RO
On November 12, 1987 the District Rent Administrator issued
the order here under review finding that a diminution of
services had occurred and reducing the rent stabilized tenants'
rent to the level in effect prior to the last rent guideline
increase which commenced before the effective date of the rent
reduction. The rent controlled tenants' rent was reduced by
$11.00 per month, effective on the first rent payment day
following the issuance of the Administrator's order.
In the petition the owners assert that the tenants'
complaint was filed by someone other than the subject tenants;
that the tenants were asked to sign a complaint form, but the
tenants were not made aware of the application for a rent
reduction; that the courtyard mentioned on the right side of the
subject building is not a courtyard, but a lot owned by someone
else; and that all of the defects stated in the tenants'
complaint have been corrected.
Attached to the owners' petition are letters submitted by
several tenants alleging that they were never informed of the
rent reduction application when they signed the complaint form,
and that these tenants object to any rent reduction. Also
attached to the petition are photographs of various portions of
the alleged subject building, which purport to show that repairs
in the premises have been made.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the
opinion that the owners' petition should be denied.
As to the issue of whether the tenants intended to request
a rent reduction, the Commissioner notes that that issue is
being raised for the first time upon administrative review, and
as the owners do not explain why this issue was not raised in
the proceeding before the District Rent Administrator, it is
outside of the scope of the Commissioner's review. The
Commissioner notes that the subject tenants' mistake, if indeed
there was one, in understanding the full implication of signing a
particular document is insufficient grounds for reversing an
order issued by the Rent Administrator as to a finding of a
decrease in services.
The Commissioner further notes that not all the signatories
of the original complaint submitted statements alleging that they
do not want a rent reduction, and several of the tenants
submitting statements, on behalf of the owners, were not
signatories of the original complaint.
As the owners have not established that the photographs
which they submit for the first time upon administrative review
could not reasonably have been offered or included in the
DOCKET NO.: BL 210304 RO
proceeding before the District Rent Administrator, they are
outside the scope of the Commissioner's review in this
proceeding. Even if the photographs were properly before the
Commissioner, the Commissioner notes that owner does not make
clear whether the photographs were taken before the premises were
inspected or before the order was issued or whether the
photographs were taken following the issuance of the Rent
Administrator's order. If it is the former, then the
Administrator properly based his decision on the report of the
agency inspector in determining that defects existed. If it is
the latter, than the Rent Administrator's order reducing the rent
was nevertheless correct when issued.
The Commissioner finds that the owners' allegation that the
courtyard on the right side of the subject building belongs to
someone else is irrelevant because the tenants' complaint alleged
debris in the courtyard on the left side of the building, and not
on the right side. The Commissioner further notes that the owner
failed to raise this issue when the matter was pending before the
Accordingly, the Commissioner is of the opinion that the
owners' petition should be denied.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and
Code, and the City Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the District Rent Administrator's order be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA