CK 410029-RO
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  CK 410029-RO              

                EL-KAM REALTY COMPANY,  
                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S     
                                                  DOCKET NO.: 
                                  PETITIONER      BJ 410026-B

                                ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW           

          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 
                    and plaster.

          CK 410029-RO

               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/- 
                    buzzer panel.

          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.

          CK 410029-RO

          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 

          CK 410029-RO

          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

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