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.:
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING, IN PART, PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW AND REMANDING PROCEEDINGS TO RENT ADMINISTRATOR
FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION
The above-named owner filed timely petitions for administrative
review of orders issued by the Rent Administrator concerning the
housing accommodations known as 162-05 89th Avenue, Queens,
New York, wherein the Rent Administrator determined the tenants'
complaint of decreased building-wide services, and the owner's rent
The Commissioner has reviewed all the evidence in the record and
has carefully considered the portions of the record relevant to the
issues raised by the petitions.
Various tenants commenced these proceedings by filing a complaint
asserting that the owner had failed to maintain certain services in
the subject premises.
In an answer, the owner denied the allegations set forth in the
complaint or otherwise asserted that all required repairs had been
or will be completed.
Thereafter, an inspection of the subject premises was conducted by
a DHCR inspector who reported two elevators that did not level and
doors on the elevators that did not open and close properly, no
awning at the main entrance, electrical wiring in the front and
side of the exterior of the building, evidence of vermin
infestation in the basement, no superintendent on the premises and
lack of janitorial services and general upkeep, dirty public area
windows, broken mailboxes and unlocked lobby doors.
The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services and
further, ordered a reduction of the tenants' rents.
In the petition for administrative review of the rent reduction
order, the owner requested reversal of the order on various
grounds. The owner's petition was inadvertently assigned separate
dockets per Docket Nos. CA130120RO and CA130287RO.
On appeal, as below, the owner disputed that there was ever an
awning at the main entrance of the building. The owner also
reiterated that regularly scheduled elevator maintenance and
extermination programs promptly addressed services problems arising
in this regard, and that an on-premises superintendent and a porter
provided adequate janitorial services and cleaned the premises on
a daily basis.
The owner asserted that the exterior wiring was a temporary
condition required in connection with electrical work. The owner
further asserted that this condition, as well as the broken
mailboxes and the lobby door defects that left the entrance
unlocked, were corrected prior to the issuance of the rent
The owner also alleged a denial of due process because the Rent
Administrator did not conduct a hearing in the proceedings below.
In addition to the petition for administrative review, the owner
also filed a rent restoration application, asserting that required
services were being provided, and reiterated that there had never
been an awning at the main entrance.
The tenants responded that the owner had the awning frame removed
rather than having the canopy replaced.
An inspection conducted on January 30, 1989 by a DHCR inspector
disclosed that one elevator was disabled, that the first floor door
of the second elevator door was broken, and that there was no
awning at the time of inspection. The inspector found that other
repairs had been completed.
On April 12, 1989, the Rent Administrator issued an order that
denied the owner's application to restore the stabilized tenants'
rent. Orders were issued to the owner and to rent stabilized
tenants only. The owner had not requested rent restoration for the
rent controlled tenants.
In the petition for administrative review appealing the order
denying the owner's application, the owner reiterates the previous
assertions that the elevators at the subject building are properly
maintained, and that there was never an awning at the main
entrance; also arguing that the condition was de minimis in any
event. The owner also argues that the owner's right to due process
was violated because the inspection was conducted without affording
the owner notice of the inspection or an opportunity to comment on
The tenants' answers to the petition, and the owner's reply thereto
reiterate the parties' previous statements. With the reply, the
owner submitted invoices detailing several elevator repairs and
scheduled maintenance visits, and signed statements from several
tenants to the effect that no awning had been provided during the
term of their tenancies. A photograph of an awning frame without
a canopy was submitted by a tenant.
After careful consideration the Commissioner is of the opinion that
the owner's petitions should be granted in part.
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. Pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction
Regulations, the Rent Administrator may impose a rent reduction if
there has been a decrease in essential services, furnishings or
equipment, among other things.
The tenants' allegation below that the owner eliminated the awning
frame and canopy was not sufficient to conclude that the awning was
provided, absent other evidence. The DHCR inspection reports
confirmed only that no awning was found at the time of inspection.
However, the tenants are entitled to further investigation of their
allegations in the complaint. Consequently, the matter should be
remanded to the Rent Administrator for further consideration.
Concerning the elevators, the Commissioner notes that the DHCR has
the requisite authority to render a determination and that the
evidence of record is sufficient to let stand the Rent
Administrator's findings regarding the elevators.
The owner's claim that it was denied due process, because the
Administrator failed to hold a hearing in the rent reduction
proceedings, is without merit. The DHCR is not required to hold
hearings. The decision to do so is left to the Rent
Administrator's sound discretion. All that is required is that the
parties have notice of the proceedings and the opportunity to
present their position. Also, notice of the inspections or of the
results thereof was not required in either the rent reduction or
the rent restoration proceedings. The owner was afforded the due
process notice it was entitled to by service of the tenants'
complaint and responses.
Evidence submitted by the parties in the administrative review
proceedings could not be considered as it was beyond the scope of
review which is strictly limited to the evidence and issues
presented to the Rent Administrator for consideration.
The owner's petitions do not establish any further basis for
modifying or revoking the Rent Administrator's orders.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
by the filing of the petition appealing the rent reduction order is
vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Law and Regulations for the City of
New York, it is,
ORDERED, that the petitions be, and the same hereby are granted in
part, to the extent of remanding the proceedings to the Rent
Administrator to reconsider the awning issue in both the rent
reduction and the rent restoration proceedings. In all other
respects, the Rent Administrator's orders are affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA