STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL
JAMAICA, NY 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.:
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On January 28, 1988, the above-named petitioner-tenant
representative timely refiled a petition for administrative review
of an order issued on November 4, 1987, by the Rent Administrator,
concerning the housing accommodations known as various apartments
at 150 East 49 Street, New York, N.Y., wherein the Administrator
denied the tenants' application for a rent reduction.
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 record reveals that eight tenants joined in filing a complaint
on May 18, 1987 alleging a decrease in building-wide services. The
complaint stated that two washtubs for laundry had been removed
from the basement and the remaining two tubs are used for drainage
of the two existing washing machines and are not available for use
by the tenants for washing/soaking laundry. The complaint further
stated that the laundry drying room has been reduced in size and
the facilities available for drying clothes have been substantially
The complaint was served on the owner on June 3, 1987, but no
response was received.
A physical inspection on July 8, 1987 revealed that new coin-
operated laundry machines have been installed and the old machines
and tubs have been sealed up. A second inspection August 24, 1987
revealed that the two washtubs are being used for washing machine
drainage and that wooden drying rods have been installed, replacing
the prior metal rods.
In the order issued on November 4, 1987, the Administrator denied
the tenants' application on the ground that the facts do not
warrant the relief requested.
In the petition for administrative review, the tenants seek
reversal of the order claiming that sufficient evidence was
provided to establish that the tenants have been denied space and
facilities in the basement laundry area. The tenants note that
photographs were submitted to the Administrator and the physical
inspection confirmed the reduction in the drying room area, the
reduction in the number of drying rods available for tenant use,
and the removal of two washtubs and the conversion of the remaining
tubs to drainage areas for the washing machines. The petition also
states that although the inspector reported that the dryer was
free, it has since been replaced by two coin-operated dryers.
The petition was served on the owner on September 17, 1990.
After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be granted.
Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires DHCR to
order a rent reduction upon application by a tenant based on a
finding that the owner has failed to maintain required services.
Required services are defined by Section 2520.6(r) as that space
and those services which the owner was maintaining or was required
to maintain on the applicable base date.
For rent controlled tenants, Section 2202.16 of the Rent and
Eviction Regulations authorizes a rent decrease where it is found
that there has been a decrease in the dwelling space, essential
services, furniture, furnishings or equipment required to be
provided. Essential services are defined in Section 2200.3(b) as
those services which the owner furnished or was obliged to furnish
on April 30, 1962 and which were included in the maximum rent,
including, but not limited to, repairs, decorating and maintenance,
the furnishing of light, heat, hot and cold water, telephone,
elevator service, kitchen, bath and laundry facilities and
privileges, maid service, linen service, janitor service, and
removal of refuse.
A review of the record in the instant case, including the physical
inspection adequately establishes that there has been a reduction
in essential or required services for which a rent reduction is
For the rent stabilized tenants listed on Appendix A, the rent is
reduced to the level in effect prior to the last rent guideline
increase which commenced before the effective date of this Order.
The effective date of the rent reduction is October 1, 1993, the
first rent payment day after DHCR informed the owner/landlord of
the tenants' petition for administrative review. The owner is
directed to refund all amounts collected in excess of the reduced
rent since the effective date of the order. If the owner fails to
make a refund within thirty (30) days of the issuance date of this
order, the tenants are authorized to deduct the amount from future
rents until the total amount has been refunded.
For the rent controlled tenants listed on Appendix B, the maximum
legal rent is reduced by $4.00 per month effective the first rent
payment day following the date of issuance of this order for:
1. Removal of two washtubs for use by tenants $2.00
2. Replacement of free laundry machines with
coin-operated ones $2.00
The owner is directed to restore the above services and the failure
to do so may result in additional penalties.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is granted and
the Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby is modified
to order a rent reduction as specified herein.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA