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

          APPEAL OF                             DOCKET NO.: CB230272RO 
                                                RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                DOCKET NO.: BH230029B        
                    Israel Kahana,

               On February 9, 1988, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          petition for administrative review of an order issued on January 5, 
          1988, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodation known as 4514 10th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 
          wherein the Administrator determined that there had been a decrease 
          of building-wide services, directed a restoration of services and 
          ordered a reduction of the legal rents.

               The tenants' complaint, filed on August 26, 1987, alleged a 
          broken intercom system; broken mailboxes; insufficient public area 
          illumination, no on-premises superintendent and no posting in the 
          hallway listing his name, location, and phone number; inadequate 
          janitorial services; and inadequate heat and hot water.

               The owner responded that the intercom system was not a base 
          date service; that lighting in the public areas was adequate; that 
          he was not aware of broken mailboxes; that the building had a 
          resident superintendent in Apartment 3C; and that heat and hot 
          water services were adequate.

               The challenged order reduced the tenants' rents based on the 
          results of an inspection conducted on November 25, 1987, that 
          confirmed the tenants' complaints of a defective intercom system; 
          broken mailboxes; lack of a resident superintendent and no lobby 
          posting of the superintendent's name, address, and phone number; 
          and public areas in need of cleaning.

               The owner's appeal maintains that the Administrator's findings 
          of fact and law were faulty, and should be reversed, as more fully 
          set forth below.  Copies of the owner's appeal were served on the 
          tenants on May 12, 1988.


               Concerning the bare assertion, below and on appeal, that the 
          intercom system was not a base date service, the Commissioner notes 
          that the fact that the equipment is a permanent fixture of the 
          subject building created a presumption that the equipment was 
          provided on the base date or thereafter.  The base date for 
          services required to be provided for continuously stabilized 
          tenants is May 31, 1968.  The base date for essential services for 
          rent controlled tenants is April 20, 1962.  The owner, who is in 
          the best position to provide relevant documentation regarding base 
          date services, submitted no evidence to rebut the presumption that 
          the intercom was a base date service.  The owner's attempt to shift 
          to the tenants the burden of proving that the intercom system is a 
          required service is rejected.

               In the proceeding below the owner failed to establish the 
          presence of an on-premises superintendent, and the inspector was 
          unable to locate the superintendent.  On appeal, the owner submits 
          the superintendent's notarized affidavit, to the effect that he 
          resides in building.  However, the owner fails to explain the 
          superintendent's absence at the time of inspection.  Section 27- 
          2053 of the Housing Maintenance Code requires, among other things, 
          that the owner post and conspicuously display the name and contact 
          information of the individual performing janitorial services.  In 
          light of the record, the rent reduction granted because there was 
          no superintendent, combined with the fact that superintendent 
          contact information was not posted and that the public areas 
          required cleaning, was proper and should be affirmed.

               Concerning the owner's argument that the finding that public 
          areas required cleaning was not an adequate predicate to grant rent 
          reduction because it lacked specificity, the Commissioner notes 
          that service of the tenants' complaint gave the owner notice of the 
          condition, which was confirmed upon inspection.  The owner's appeal 
          is silent as to the owner's responsibility to inspect the premises 
          and to take corrective action.  
               The owner further speculates that the condition was an 
          isolated occurrence and could have been tenant-induced.  The fact 
          that the public areas were found to be dirty three months after the 
          tenants filed their complaint suggests that janitorial services 
          provided may not have been either adequate or sufficiently frequent 
          to maintain the public areas clean.  The possibility that the 
          conditions may have been tenant-induced does not abate the owner's 
          obligation to maintain the premises clean.  The owner's remedy in 
          such circumstances is to bring an action for relief in a court of 
          competent jurisdiction against the culpable parties.

               The fact that the DHCR issued an order in June 1986 dismissing 


          allegedly similar complaints did not bar the tenants from seeking 
          relief for conditions that occurred thereafter.

               The inspection confirmed the tenants' complaint of broken 
          mailboxes.  However, the Commissioner concurs with the owner that 
          three (3) broken mailboxes in this sixteen (16) unit building did 
          not constitute a basis for building-wide rent reductions.  As the 
          inspection report did not identify the defective mailboxes, the 
          condition is revoked as a predicate for building-wide rent 
          reductions.  The $4.00 per month rent reductions the Administrator 
          granted to the rent controlled tenants are hereby also revoked.  
          Rent arrears may be due to the owner from rent controlled tenants 
          as a result.  

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

               ORDERED, that the owner's petition be granted, in part, to the 
          extent of revoking building-wide rent reductions predicated on a 
          finding of broken mailboxes.  In all other respects, the 
          Administrator's order is affirmed.  Rent arrears due to the owner 
          from the rent controlled tenants as a result of this order may be 
          paid over the course of the next three (3) months.


                                                  Joseph A. D'Agosta         
                                                  Deputy Commissioner        



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