Doc.#BL630102RO
                             STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK  11433

     ------------------------------------X
     IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW 
     APPEAL OF                                 DOCKET NO.: BL630102RO

                                         :     
              Joseph A. Coco,                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                               DOCKET NO.: BE610099B

                         PETITIONER      :
     ------------------------------------X


        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 
     inspection:

                    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 
     building.

     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 
     reducing nature.
     The petition was served on the tenants on February 3, 1988.  








     Doc.#BL630102RO

     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 
     compactor.

     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 
     services.

     Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include repairs and 
     maintenance.

     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 
     this argument.

     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.



     Doc.#BL630102RO

     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.


     ISSUED:                                                                  
                                                                         
                                              Joseph A. D'Agosta
                                              Deputy Commissioner





    

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