CJ130057RO et al.
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
APPEALS OF DOCKET NOS.:
Athena Vrettos Papakonstadinou
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING OWNER'S PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW, IN PART, AND DENYING TENANT'S PETITION
FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
The above-named owner and tenant filed timely petitions for
administrative review of an order issued concerning the housing
accommodations known as 43-09 43rd Street, Various Apartments,
Sunnyside, New York.
These petitions are being consolidated for disposition herein
because they involve common questions of law and fact.
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 petitions.
The record reveals that 38 tenants of the 48 units in the building
joined in filing a complaint on March 2, 1988, asserting that the
owner had failed to maintain certain services in the subject
building. Specifically, the tenants alleged, in pertinent part,
that the elevator has been out of service since January 22, 1988,
the roof is leaking, most of the machines have been removed from
the laundry room, and there is no access to the basement.
CJ130057RO et al.
In an answer, the owner stated that the elevator was previously out
of service because the traction sheave hoist cables had to be
replaced, that a new roof was installed four years ago and any
sporadic leaks are repaired immediately, and that the laundry room
is in complete operating condition but the tenants chose to boycott
Thereafter an inspection of the subject building was conducted by
a DHCR inspector on June 6, 1988, who confirmed the existence of
the following defective conditions:
1. Elevator does not level with the floors and the elevator tiles
are worn out and cracked.
2. The sixth (6th) floor ceiling (above incinerator door) is
blistered and discolored due to water seepage from roof.
3. All laundry machines are disconnected.
4. Tenants do not have access to basement.
Other conditions complained of were found to have been corrected.
The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services and
further ordered a guideline reduction of the stabilization rent for
rent stabilized apartments and a $10 per month reduction of the
maximum rent for rent controlled apartments.
In its petition for administrative review, the owner states, in
substance, that the tenants complained of the elevator being out of
service since January 22, 1988, and not about leveling problems or
defective tiles. The owner further states that though the sixth
floor ceiling is blistered and discolored due to water seepage from
the roof, this is not what the tenants complained of, which was
leaks from the roof to the hallway and vestibule of the first
floor, and lastly that the laundry machines were never used so
there should not be a rent reduction for a service tenants never
took advantage of. The owner enclosed an affidavit by the
supervisor of the building stating that the laundry machines earned
only $10.00 to $20.00 per month which did not cover their operating
The DHCR served a copy of the owner's petition on the tenants on
November 22, 1988.
In the petition for administrative review filed by one tenant, it
is alleged that the inspector overlooked the severe mouse and roach
infestation in the building, that the public areas and incinerator
rooms are filthy, and that no 24-hour emergency number is posted.
The tenant's petition was served on the owner on December 2, 1988.
The owner answered and referred to its own petition.
CJ130057RO et al.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the owner's petition should be granted in part and the
tenant's petition should be denied.
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 an owner has failed to maintain required
services. Required services are defined by Section 2520.6(r) as
those services provided on the base date or thereafter including
repairs, decorating and maintenance, elevator services and
Section 2202.6 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorizes a
rent reduction where there has been a decrease in essential
services which are defined in Section 2200.3 as those services
furnished or required to be furnished on April 30, 1962 which were
included in the maximum rent. They may include repairs, decorating
and maintenance, elevator service, laundry facilities and
privileges, and janitor service.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that the Rent Administrator's
order appealed herein properly ordered a rent reduction and
restoration of services with regard to the water damage to the
sixth floor ceiling and the laundry machines that were found to be
disconnected and inaccessible. The allegation in the complaint
that the roof was leaking was insufficient to put the owner on
notice of the need to repair the condition on the sixth floor
ceiling noted by the inspection.
Similarly, the complaint regarding the laundry machines was
confirmed by the inspector. The fact that the machines earned an
insufficient return to cover operating expenses is irrelevant,
given the inspector's report that the tenant's do not have access
to the basement to use the machines.
As for the elevator, however, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the finding regarding leveling problems and defective tiles is
not related to the complaint. The tenants stated in the complaint
that the elevator had been out of service for several weeks. The
Division's inspector reported that the elevator was operating. The
leveling and the tile conditions were not part of the complaint and
the owner was not on notice of the need to correct these items.
Reference to the elevator conditions must be deleted from the
order. For rent controlled tenants, the result is a revocation of
$2.00 of the $10.00 rent reduction which the tenants may refund to
the owner in installments of $2.00 per month until all arrears are
CJ130057RO et al.
The rent reduction by a guideline for stabilized tenants is
unaffected by the deletion of the elevator conditions from the
The tenant's petition challenges the accuracy of the inspection
report. However, the Commissioner deems it appropriate to rely on
the impartial observations of the Division's employee rather than
the unsupported allegations of a party to the proceeding. The
tenant retains the right to file additional complaints if the facts
The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent restoration
application has been granted (Docket No. CJ120017OR).
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
by the filing of this petition for rent stabilized tenants is
vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 and the Rent and
Evictions Regulations for New York City, it is
ORDERED, that the tenant's petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and the owner's petition be and the same hereby is granted
in part, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby is, modified in accordance with this order and opinion.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA