STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: CH430212RO
DOCKET NO.: BL420061B
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW,
The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative
review of an order issued on July 27, 1988 concerning the housing
accommodations known as 331 East 89th Street, New York, New York,
wherein the Rent Commissioner determined that certain conditions
found in the subject premises constituted building-wide services
decreases. A copy of the petition was served on the tenants.
The Commissioner has reviewed all the evidence in the record and
has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the
issues raised by the petition.
The tenants commenced this proceeding by filing a complaint
asserting that the owner had failed to maintain certain services in
the subject building.
In answer, the owner denied the allegations set forth in the
complaint or otherwise asserted that the owner was in compliance
with relevant Housing Maintenance Code requirements.
Thereafter, an inspection of the subject apartment was conducted by
a DHCR inspector who found that the public areas were dirty and
unmopped, that the basement door was padlocked and chained, that
lighting in the public areas was inadequate and that various
apartments did not have fire doors.
The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services, and
further, ordered a reduction of the stabilization rents.
In the petition for administrative review, the owner, in substance,
amplifies the contentions below, referring to Section 27-2044 of
the Housing Maintenance Code, pertaining to fire rating of
apartment doors, pointing out that it does not apply to apartments
on the first three (3) stories unless they have been refurbished,
and to Section 27-2038 & 2039 of the Code, pertaining to the level
of illumination required to be provided in interior public areas.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the petition should be granted, in part, as more fully set
Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, DHCR is
required to order a rent reduction upon application by a tenant,
where it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required
services. Section 2202.16 of the City Rent and Eviction
Regulations provides that the Rent Administrator may order a rent
decrease where it is found that the owner has failed to maintain
essential services, which may include, but are not limited to,
repairs, decorating and maintenance, among other items.
The inspection report did not indicate that any refurbished
apartments or any apartments located above the third story were
without fire doors, in violation of the Housing Maintenance Code.
As the record does not establish that any tenant entitled to have
a fire door was deprived of such services, the $5.00 per month rent
reduction granted to rent controlled tenants for the condition must
The owner's petition does not establish any other basis for further
modifying or revoking the Administrator's order, which determined
that the owner was not maintaining required services based on a
physical inspection confirming the existence of defective
conditions in the subject premises for which rent reductions were
warranted. The Commissioner further notes that the inspector's
impartial observations were entitled to, and were afforded, great
weight by the Rent Administrator.
Rent arrears due the owner from rent controlled tenants as a result
of this order shall be paid in monthly installments equal to the
number of months the tenants' rent reduction was in effect.
The DHCR records also reveal that the Rent Administrator issued an
order on August 15, 1990 per Docket No. DF410068OR granting the
owner's rent restoration application.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
by the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance hereof.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the City Rent and Eviction Laws and Regulations, it is,
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is granted in
part, to the extent that the Rent Administrator's order is amended
to revoke lack of fire doors in various apartments as a predicate
for rent reductions. In all other respects, the Rent Administra-
tor's order is affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA