CL110168RO
                                    STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433



          ----------------------------------x
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  CL110168RO             

                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                    RICHARD ALBERT,               DOCKET NO.:    
                                                  BL130114B 

                                                  PREMISES: 93-47 222nd St.
                                   PETITIONER     Queens Village, NY
          ----------------------------------x



            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                  IN PART AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER


          On December 16, 1988, the above-named owner filed a petition for 
          administrative review against an order issued on December 8, 1988, 
          by a Rent Administrator wherein a rent reduction was ordered based 
          on a finding that certain services had not been provided or  
          maintained.

          The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record and 
          has carefully considered that portion relevant to the issues raised 
          on appeal.

          This proceeding was commenced in 1987 when the first five of six 
          separate complaints were filed by one individual tenant alleging a 
          decrease in building-wide services and requesting a rent reduction.  
          The sixth complaint was filed in 1988.  The tenant alleged, inter 
          alia, dirty baseboard behind radiators, brass work not being 
          maintained and public areas not being kept in a clean and sanitary 
          condition.

          In answer to the complaints, the owner asserted at the outset that 
          the complaints were all prepared by a tenant representative in 
          violation of a court-approved stipulation.  With regard to specific 
          items, the owner asserted that it had been determined in prior 
          proceedings before the Division that the public areas were being 
          maintained in a clean condition.














          CL110168RO



          Finally, the owner noted that the complaints involved in this pro- 
          ceeding were among 306 complaints consisting of 982 pages received 
          by the owner on the same day, and argued that this constitutes an 
          abuse of the system by one tenant representative.

          A physical inspection of the premises was conducted by a DHCR 
          employee on November 23, 1988.  The inspector reported the 
          following defective conditions:

                    1.   public areas in need of cleaning  
                         (sweeping and washing),
                    2.   dirty baseboard behind radiators,   
                    3.   brass work needs cleaning.

          Based on the inspection report, the Administrator directed restora- 
          tion of services and further ordered a reduction of the stabilized 
          rent of the complaining tenant, effective June 1, 1988.

          In the petition for administrative review, the owner points out 
          that this proceeding involves six separate complaints signed on 
          various dates between May 1987 and April 1988 and again asserts 
          that this is one of 28 dockets involving 306 complaints received on 
          the same day.

          The owner asserts that in another proceeding (Docket No. QCS 
          000151B) it was determined after a hearing that there was satis- 
          factory cleaning of the public areas.

          The owner argues that since the order states that many items were 
          found to be restored the DHCR confirms that the owner is providing 
          required maintenance on such items as the mailboxes and hallway 
          windows, and the rent reduction should be rescinded.

          The owner contends that the problems of dirt behind radiators and 
          mailboxes needing cleaning are possibly caused by tenant abuse, and 
          even if true, are too minor a condition to constitute a basis for 
          a finding of a failure by the owner to maintain services or for the 
          imposition of a rent reduction.

          The owner again refers to a court-approved stipulation that he 
          asserts is being violated by the preparation of multiple complaints 
          for other tenants, by one tenant representative.

          The tenant interposed a response to the owner's petition which 
          contended that the order was issued pursuant to an inspection of 
          the subject premises by a DHCR employee and that the owner does not 
          dispute the existence of the conditions found by the inspector.









          CL110168RO

          After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the Commis- 
          sioner is of the opinion that the petition should be granted in 
          part and the Rent Administrator's order should be modified.

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires DHCR to 
          order a rent reduction upon application by a tenant where it is 
          found that the owner has failed to maintain required services.  
          Required services are defined by Section 2520.6(r) to include 
          repairs, maintenance, janitorial services and removal of refuse.

          The Commissioner finds that based on the on site physical inspec- 
          tion which confirmed the tenant's complaint of dirty public areas, 
          the Administrator was mandated pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) to 
          reduce the rent upon determining that the owner had failed to 
          maintain services.

          The rent reduction ordered by the Administrator is therefore war- 
          ranted.

          The owner's assertion that in a prior proceeding, it was determined 
          that the public areas were being maintained in a clean condition 
          does not establish that the finding in this proceeding that jani- 
          torial services are inadequate was in error.  This is a service 
          that must be provided on an on-going basis and may deteriorate at 
          anytime which, if confirmed by an agency inspection, would warrant 
          a rent reduction, despite an earlier determination that the service 
          was being provided.

          It is unfortunate that so many complaints were filed against the 
          petitioner at the same time but nothing in the Rent Stabilization 
          Law and Code precludes such multiple filings.  Efforts are made by 
          the Division to consolidate related proceedings and to avoid 
          duplicative rent reductions for identical items.

          The fact that many services were found to have been restored does 
          not establish that the rent reduction ordered herein is not 
          warranted.  The Administrator's order found that screens on the 
          north side of the building were adequate, that the hallway windows 
          were adequate, and that the mailboxes were repaired.  These are 
          separate and distinct items from those which formed the basis for 
          the rent reduction and are not relevant to the validity of the 
          finding that these other services were not being properly 
          maintained.

          Although it is not likely that dirt behind the radiators and brass 
          on the mailboxes needing cleaning are conditions "caused by tenant 
          abuse", the Commissioner is of the opinion that these items, even 
          if confirmed by inspection, do not warrant a rent reduction.
           

          The Commissioner has previously held that tarnished brasswork on 
          mailboxes does not warrant a rent reduction unless "the mailboxes 












          CL110168RO

          become so grimy as to make their use difficult or their appearance 
          unsightly . . " (See BB130149RT).  Since there was no such finding 
          in this case, the reference to "brass work needs cleaning" must be 
          deleted from the rent reduction order.

          Similarly, the dirty baseboard behind the radiator is not a 
          condition that significantly affects the appearance of the public 
          areas or impairs the tenant's use of common space.  It does not 
          indicate a failure to maintain services and must also be deleted as 
          a basis for the rent reduction ordered by the Administrator.  In 
          order for this rent reduction to be restored, it must be estab- 
          lished solely that the public areas are properly swept and washed.

          Finally the owner has asserted that a court stipulation involving 
          the tenant representative who filed these complaints prevents her 
          from doing so.  The owner did not submit a copy of this stipula- 
          tion but it was submitted in conjunction with other proceedings and 
          a careful reading of its terms reveals that it does not state what 
          the owner purports that it states.


          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent stabilization Law and Code,  
          it is,

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted in 
          part, and  the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby 
          is, affirmed, as modified. 


          ISSUED:



                                                                           
                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Deputy Commissioner
    

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