STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.:
EL-KAM REALTY COMPANY,
PETITIONER BJ 410026-B
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING IN PART PETITION FOR
On November 1, 1988, the above-named petitioner filed a Adminis-
trative Appeal against an amended order issued on September 27,
1988, by the District Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street,
Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as
340 East 66th Street, New York, New York, Various apartments,
wherein a rent reduction was ordered for all stablized tenants who
joined in the complaint based on a finding that the owner was not
providing or maintaining certain services.
The issue herein is whether the District Rent Administrator
properly ordered a rent reduction.
The District Rent Administrator's order, appealed herein, deter-
mined that the rent for the subject apartments should be reduced to
the level in effect prior to the last rent guidelines increase
which commenced before the effective date of the order.
The order was based upon an inspection, held on February 22, 1988,
which revealed the following deficient services:
1. Public areas throughout subject premises are
dirty including the basement.
2. There are cracked window panes in public
hallways throughout subject premises.
3. The lobby and public areas have peeling paint
4. There are debris and dog droppings in evidence
in the rear yard and the side of the subject
5. The mailbox has broken doors.
6. There is evidence of ivy plants growing over
the exterior windows and bricks.
7. There are ten names missing from the bell/-
The District Rent Administrator's order further noted:
Amended Order: This order has been amended to
correct the omission of various stabilized
units from order issued. All other parts of
this order remain unchanged. This order
supersedes the previous order issued June 29,
1988 and the new issue date which appears on
the reverse side is in full force and effect.
The Commissioner notes that on June 29, 1988, the Administrator
issued orders under the same docket number (BJ 410026-B) reducing
the rents for all rent controlled tenants by $18.00 per month. The
owner's petition is not timely as to those orders.
On appeal, the petitioner-owner asserts, in substance, that the
conditions found by the Administrator are not rent reducing items
and that the names missing from the bell-buzzer panels refer to
vacant apartments only.
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 and the Administrator's order should be
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code,
"A tenant may apply to the DHCR for a reduc-
tion 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
Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include
repairs and maintenance.
The tenants filed a Statement of a Decrease in Building-wide Ser-
vices, on October 6, 1987, alleging a medley of decreased services
in the subject building.
On February 28, 1988, an inspection of the subject building con-
firmed the tenants' service deficiency allegations.
The file, however, is devoid of any credible evidence that the
conditions which were the subject of the tenants' building-wide
complaint of October 6, 1987, were actually repaired by the owner
at the time of the DHCR's inspection on February 22, 1988 or prior
to the issuance of the order.
With one exception, the Commissioner rejects the petitioner's
assertion that the conditions found by the Administrator do not
warrant a rent reduction.
The Commissioner notes that the tenant of Apartment 4-E (Faitelson)
filed an answer to the PAR asserting, inter alia, that her name was
still missing from the bell-buzzer panels thus effectively contra-
dicting petitioner's assertion that the only names missing from the
panels were those of vacant apartments.
The Commissioner further notes that the District Rent Adminis-
trator never reduced the rents based on an unpainted building
entrance door, as stated in the owner's PAR, but for peeling paint
and plaster in the public areas, as well as several of the condi-
tions, pertaining to the overall maintenance and cleanliness of the
With regard to the reference to ivy growing on the windows and
bricks, the Commissioner is of the opinion that this item should be
deleted as a basis for the rent reduction. A review of the tenants'
complaint reveals that they alleged that ivy had been allowed to
grow out of control and was covering the windows and air condi-
tioners. The inspector, however, reported "evidence of ivy in
front of the building and by apartment windows". It is noted that
ivy covering a building is considered desirable by some and should
not be considered a failure to maintain services unless it is so
intrusive as to interfere with the tenants' use of their windows
and/or air conditioners. That was the substance of the tenants'
complaints but the inspection report did not confirm that the ivy
was not being properly trimmed. Since this aspect of the complaint
is not supported by the evidence, the order should be modified to
delete the reference to the ivy.
With this one exception, the Commissioner finds that the Adminis-
trator properly based his determination on the entire record,
including the results of the on-site physical inspection conducted
on February 22, 1988 and that pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the
Code, the Administrator was mandated to reduce the rent upon deter-
mining that the owner had failed to maintain services.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabili-
zation Law and Code, it is,
ORDERED, that this administrative appeal be, and the same hereby
is, granted in part and that the order of the District Rent Admin-
istrator's order be, and the same hereby is, modified, as provided
hereinabove. The order of the District Rent Administrator is
hereby affirmed in all other respects.
JOSEPH D. AGOSTA
Acting Deputy Commissioner