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.: CG110088RO
RICHARD ALBERT RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On July 11, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a Petition
for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued June 13, 1988 concerning the housing
accommodations known as Apt. 5H, 94-05 222nd Street, Queens
Village, NY, wherein the Administrator determined that the owner
was not maintaining required services, directed restoration of such
services, and ordered a rent reduction.
The Commissioner has carefully reviewed all the evidence of record
and has carefully considered that portion relevant to the issues
raised on appeal.
A review of the record reveals that the tenant filed a complaint on
December 24, 1987 alleging a decrease in building-wide services.
Specifically, the tenant stated that the walkway behind the
building on the south side is in poor condition, the grounds behind
the building on the south side and in the southeast corner of the
premises are littered with leaves and refuse, the fence behind the
building in the southeast corder of the premises is damaged and
sagging, and the exterior yard light on the rear of the building in
the southeast corner of the premises is damaged and separating from
The complaint was served on the owner on January 19, 1988. In
response, the owner stated that the complaints regarding the
walkway and grounds were duplicated in prior proceedings wherein it
was determined that all services were being provided, that a small
section of the fence was hit by a truck but the fence is still
serving its purpose and it is in an area where tenants are not
permitted anyway, and the yard light is functioning properly but a
small section of the conduit has separated from the wall.
A physical inspection of the premises by DHCR on February 24, 1988
revealed that the south concrete rear path is cracked and poses
trip hazards, there was no evidence of garbage accumulation, there
was no evidence of rear fence defects, and the light fixture was
not separated from the wall.
The Rent Administrator's order appealed herein states that the
status of the tenant's apartment is unknown and reduces the rent by
either $5.00 if the apartment is rent-controlled and to the level
in effect prior to the last rent guideline increase if the
apartment is rent stabilized, citing "The south side walkway is
cracked" as a condition warranting a rent reduction.
In the petition for administrative review, the owner asserts that
a prior rent reduction had been issued to this tenant for the
cracked sidewalk and on April 9, 1987 the owner received a letter
from the DHCR Compliance Unit finding the owner in compliance with
this order. The owner argues that any subsequent damage to the
sidewalk was caused by freezing weather which could not be
repaired until warmer weather arrived. The owner claims that all
necessary repairs were completed before the order was issued. The
owner also contends that a cracked sidewalk is a minor condition
not warranting a rent reduction, that federal law requires a
hearing before a penalty is imposed, that the complaint was
prepared by a tenant representative in violation of a court
stipulation, and that the tenant herein is cooperating with the
tenant representative by signing multiple complaints.
In answer to the petition, the tenant contends that the rent
reduction was properly based on a physical inspection and should be
After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code and Section 2202.16
of the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorize a rent reduction
based on a finding that the owner is not maintaining required or
essential services. The order appealed herein was properly based
on a physical inspection confirming the existence of a defective
condition for which a rent reduction is warranted. The owner's
petition does not establish any basis for modifying or revoking the
order. A prior rent reduction order and a finding of compliance
with that order does not preclude a subsequent order for the same
condition if the condition is one requiring ongoing maintenance
which a later inspection finds is defective. The owner did not
submit any evidence to establish that the repairs were completed
before the order was issued.
In the instant case, the inspector reported that the cracks in the
sidewalk posed a trip hazard which refutes the owner's contention
that only a minor condition existed that did not warrant a rent
The owner's other arguments are also without merit. There is no
requirement in federal law that a hearing must take place before a
rent reduction may be ordered. The owner has also not established
that the complaint was prepared by the tenant or a tenant
representative in violation of a court stipulation.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that may have
resulted by the filing of the petition if the tenant is rent
stabilized is vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.
The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent restoration
applications were denied. The owner is advised to file another
application if the necessary repairs have been done.
Therefore in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Evictions for New York City, it is
ORDERED that this petition be and the same hereby is denied and the
Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby is affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA