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.: BL630102RO
Joseph A. Coco, RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
DOCKET NO.: BE610099B
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN PART
On December 14, 1987, the above-name petitioner-owner filed a petition for
administrative review of an order issued on December 3, 1987, by the Rent
Administrator, concerning the various accommodations in the building known as
3472 Knox Place, Bronx, N.Y., wherein the Administrator determined that the
rent for stabilized apartments should be reduced to the level in effect prior
to last rent guideline increase which commenced before the effective date of
the order based upon a diminution of services and further determined that the
maximum legal rent for rent controlled apartments should be reduced by $12.00
per month based upon a diminution of services. The Rent Administrator's
order was based upon an inspection held on August 27, 1987.
Although the inspection report disclosed that some service items had been
either corrected or repairs were in progress by the owner, the report showed
that the following service deficiencies existed at the time of the
1. Compactor room shut on every floor.
2. Accumulation of garbage on sixth floor.
3. Inoperable intercom.
4. Graffiti in public hallways on floors
one through three.
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 issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly reduced the rent
of various rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments in the subject
On appeal, the petitioner-owner averred, in pertinent part, that the tenants
did not explicitly request a rent reduction; that the compactor was shut-down
on all floors because a child in the building caused a compactor fire; that
the compactor was not a base-date service; that the door lock disrepair and
other deficiencies noted in the inspection report were caused by reoccurring
tenant abuse and that other repair items were minor and not of a rent
The petition was served on the tenants on February 3, 1988.
The tenant of apartment 5-B answered the petition alleging that the owner did
not complete the repair work. Additionally, an answer was filed by the 3472
Knox Place Tenant Association which stated, in pertinent part, that the owner
did not complete repair work in the premises and that although there was a
fire in an individual apartment, the tenants were unaware of any fire in the
After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative appeal should be
granted in part.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code, a tenant may
apply to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) for reduction
of the legal regulated rent to the level in effect prior to the most recent
guidelines adjustment, and the DHCR shall so reduce the rent for the period
for which it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required
Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include repairs and
Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations provides that an owner's
failure to maintain services may result in an order of decrease in maximum
rent, in an amount determined by the discretion of the Rent Administrator.
The Commissioner has considered the owner's claim on appeal that the rent
stabilized tenants did not explicitly request a rent reduction and accepts
A review of the rent stabilized tenants' complaint shows that where the
tenants are asked to indicate if a rent reduction is requested, there is a
handwritten notation saying "not at this time."
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) the Division is required to order a rent
reduction based on a finding of failure to maintain services only when the
tenants apply for a rent reduction. It was, therefore, error to order a rent
reduction for rent stabilized tenants of this proceeding and that portion of
the Administrator's order must be revoked. Despite the revocation of the
rent reduction for stabilized tenants, the owner remains obligated to restore
services and risks additional penalties for failing to comply.
For rent controlled tenants, Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction
Regulations provides that a finding that an owner has failed to maintain
services may result in an order of decrease in maximum rent, in an amount
determined by the discretion of the Rent Administrator. No request for a
rent reduction is required.
The Commissioner also notes that the file is devoid of any evidence that a
child caused a fire in the compactor room necessitating the owner's building-
wide shutdown of the compactor.
An owner is required to continue to maintain services provided on the
applicable base date or thereafter. The record indisputably shows that the
owner provided this service after the base date and, in fact, restored this
service after the issuance of the Rent Administrator's order. Accordingly,
the owner's argument to the effect that the Rent Administrator cannot order
a rent reduction for this item must fail.
Moreover, the owner's contention that the other service deficiencies shown on
the inspector's report were caused by reoccurring tenant abuse is unsupported
by the record.
Furthermore, the DHCR inspector's findings have greater credibility than the
unproven allegations of the owner.
The Commissioner has also considered and rejects petitioner's claims on
appeal that the conditions found below are ordinary maintenance, minor in
nature and not rent-reducing items. On the contrary, all of the service
derelictions noted in the inspector's report are service deficiencies worthy
of the owner's attention and should have been immediately corrected.
The Commissioner finds, therefore, that the Administrator erred by reducing
the rents of the rent stabilized apartments and that pursuant to Section
2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations the Administrator was authorized
to reduce the rents of the rent controlled tenants upon determining that the
owner had failed to maintain services.
The Commissioner notes that on the owner's application (CA620004OR), the
rents previously reduced by order issued on December 3, 1987, under docket
number BE610099B, were restored, on August 1, 1988 based upon restoration of
all services, effective March 1, 1988, for stabilized tenants and
prospectively for controlled tenants.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law
and Code and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is
ORDERED, that the administrative appeal be, and the same hereby is, granted
in part, and that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is,
modified, to revoke the rent reduction for rent stabilized tenants. The
order of the Rent Administrator is hereby affirmed in all other respects.
Any arrears owed by the rent stabilized tenants as a result of this
determination may be paid off in 8 monthly installments.
Joseph A. D'Agosta