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

          -------------------------------------X   ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF
                    IRVING STERN
                                                   RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                   DOCKET NO.:  ZAG410005OD



          On August 21, 1987, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) against an order issued on 
          August 6, 1987 by the Rent Administrator (Gertz Plaza, 92-31 Union 
          Hall Street, Jamaica, NY) concerning the housing accommodations 
          known as 305 W. 71st Street, New York, New York, various 

          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 this administrative appeal.

          On July 21, 1986 the owner of subject seven (7) family dwelling 
          filed an application for seeking Division approval of the 
          elimination of the service of central air-conditioning in the 
          subject premises contending that the central air-conditioner had 
          ceased to function entirely in June 1986.  The owner asserted that 
          the air-conditioning system was installed in a 1965 renovation of 
          the building and was not warrantied; that the owner's inspection 
          indicated that a replacement of the entire system was necessary; 
          that a replacement of the system was cost prohibitive; and that he 
          was requesting permission to discontinue the service and the 
          tenants given a rent reduction to reflect this diminution in 

          Various tenants answered the owner's MCI application stating that 
          the owner should be ordered to repair the central air-conditioning; 
          that the apartments were virtually uninhabitable during the summer; 
          that their leases require air-conditioning; that a rent reduction 
          would not accurately reflect the diminution in service; and that 
          the building was designed for central air-conditioning.  One tenant 
          stated that he had asked the owner for a rent reduction.


          The owner's response to the tenants' answers included a reference 
          to correspondence between the owner and DHCR wherein DHCR personnel 
          suggested that the owner file an application for a modification of 
          service; a claim that one tenant had an individual air-conditioning 
          unit; and a claim that the owner attempted to repair the air- 
          conditioning system.

          On August 6, 1987, the Rent Administrator denied the owner's 
          application for a modification of service, finding the following:  
          Section 2201.2 of the New York City Rent and Eviction Regulations 
          requires the landlord to furnish a housing accommodation with the 
          same essential services that were required on April 30, 1962; that 
          Section 2520.6 (r) (4) of the Rent Stabilization Code requires an 
          owner to maintain the same service that was required on May 31, 
          1968; and that central air-conditioning is an essential service.  
          (The Commissioner notes that services provided by the owner after 
          the applicable base date become an essential/required service 
          particularly where a rent increase has been obtained.)

          In his petition, the owner states, in substance, that because the 
          replacement cost of the central air-conditioning system is 
          prohibitive to the owner and is not an essential service, he should 
          not be required to provide such service.  The owner requests a rent 
          reduction on behalf of the tenants to reflect a decrease in 
          services.  The owner states that many tenants already have air- 
          conditioning units in their apartments.

          The tenants filed answers to the owner's petition claiming that the 
          owner refused to replace the central air-conditioning system when 
          it broke down; that when the building was remodeled in 1965 it was 
          redesigned for central air-conditioning with windows that do not 
          open or only partially open, and no cross ventilation; that air- 
          conditioning units are not adequate; and that internal temperatures 
          in the summer were uncomfortable.

          The owner responds to one of the tenant's answer stating it was not 
          feasible to install a new central air-conditioning system when it 
          broke down in 1986, that cross ventilation did not exist in the 
          building prior to the renovation in 1965, and was not a required 
          service, and that the tenant received a rent abatement of $552.00 
          and an air-conditioner for the summer months of 1986 and 1987.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition should be 

          The evidence of record in the instant case indicates that central 
          air-conditioning is a required/essential service for which the 
          owner is responsible to provide and maintain.



          The Commissioner notes that Section 2522.4 (d) and (e) of the Rent 
          Stabilization Code permits the owner to eliminate or modify an 
          required service with the approval of the DHCR provided that doing 
          so would not be inconsistent with the Rent Stabilization Law and 
          Code.  Section 2202.21 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations also 
          permits an owner to apply to the DHCR to decrease essential 
          services in rent controlled apartments.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion and finds that it would be 
          inconsistent with the rent laws and regulations to sanction the 
          elimination of air-conditioning as a required/essential service, 
          particularly where the subject building had been remodeled so as to 
          decrease access to window openings and cross ventilation, and where 
          the availability of air-conditioning service may have been a prime 
          factor in tenants choosing to rent the apartments in the first 
          instance.  The Commissioner finds, therefore, that the owner's 
          petition should be denied.

          The determination herein is without prejudice to the right of the 
          owner to file a new application with the Division provided he can 
          provide a detailed plan and the method of its implementation and 
          establish to the satisfaction of the Rent Administrator that he is 
          willing and able to provide a substantive equivalent service.  If 
          warranted, an appropriate rent reduction may be made to reflect any 
          modification in service to the tenants inconsistent with the Rent 
          Regulations and Codes and any additional costs to the tenants, such 
          as electricity for individual air-conditioner units provided and 
          maintained by the owner.

          The Commissioner notes that the Rent Administrator granted a 
          building-wide rent reduction for the subject premises under Docket 
          No. ZAG430087-B issued October 8, 1987 for the owner's failure to 
          provide central air-conditioning, and that the owner filed a PAR 
          against that order (Administrative Review Docket No. BK430372RO) 
          which was denied on February 5, 1993.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with New York City Rent and Eviction 
          Regulations and the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it is

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and 
          the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, affirmed 
          based on the reasons set forth herein. 


                                                         Joseph A. D'Agosta
                                                        Deputy Commissioner


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