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.: CF410001RO
JOSEPH PECORARO RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On June 3, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued May 9, 1988. The order concerned housing
accommodations known as Apt 4-FS located at 1431 First Avenue, New
York, N.Y. The Administrator established the tenant's rent at
$1.00 pursuant to Section 2522.6 of the Rent Stabilization Code,
based on the fact that the tenant had to involuntarily vacate the
subject apartment after a fire.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this
The tenant commenced this proceeding on February 19, 1988 by
filing a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services and stated,
in sum, that her apartment had been rendered uninhabitable as the
result of a fire on February 17, 1988.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on March 12,
1988 and stated, in sum, that water, heat and temporary electricity
had been restored to the apartments in the building, that other
repairs were in progress and that the owner was willing to accept
a rent of $1.00 for the month of March.
The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject
apartment. The inspection was conducted on March 25, 1988. The
apartment was reinspected on April 7, 1988. The inspector reported
that gas was not being provided and that there was smoke damage to
the living room kitchen and bathroom. The inspector also reported
that the tenant was not in occupancy.
The Administrator issued the order here under review on May 9,
1988 and established the tenant's rent at $1.00 effective February
17, 1988, the date of the fire.
On appeal the owner, as represented by counsel, states that
the owner was not given a full and fair opportunity to be heard in
that, on April 27, 1988 the owner's attorney submitted a request to
be given until May 2, 1988 to file a supplementary answer but the
Administrator issued the order here under review on May 9, 1988.
The owner further states that a rent reduction was not warranted
because the apartment was never rendered unhabitable and because
the tenant was subjected to "minor inconveniences" in service
reductions. Finally, the owner states that the service reductions
found by the Administrator were de minimis and promptly corrected
by March 27, 1988. The petition was served on the tenant.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
With regard to the owner's argument that it was not given a
full and fair opportunity to be heard, the Commissioner notes that
the owner filed an answer on March 12, 1988 wherein it agreed to
accept a rent of $1.00 for the month of March based on the
admission that services had been disrupted. The owner's April 27,
1988 request for additional time to answer was received by the
Administrator only after the order was issued.
With regard to the owner's argument that the service
reductions were de minimis in nature, the Commissioner finds that
the fact that the tenant did not have gas in the apartment can not
be charactorized as a "minor inconvenience". The order here under
review was correctly issued and is affirmed.
The Commissioner notes that, on September 30, 1988, a stay of
the prospective application for the Administrator's order was
granted. This stay, as well as the automatic stay of the
retroactive rent abatement that resulted from the issuance of the
Administrator's order is vacated upon issuance of this order and
opinion. The owner may file for rent restoration if services have
been fully restored. The Commissioner notes that rent restoration
should be granted, if appropriate, effective the date upon which
the owner establishes that the apartment was rendered habitable.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code it
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA