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.: CG130063RO
BKL MANAGEMENT CORP. RENT
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
IN PART AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER
On July 22, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued June 17, 1988. The order concerned various
housing accommodations located at 41-15 45th Street, Sunnyside,
N.Y. The Administrator directed restoration of services and
ordered a reduction of the legal rents.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this
This proceeding was commenced on October 22, 1987 when 47 of
the 96 tenants filed a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in
Building-Wide Services and alleged, in sum, that the owner was not
maintaining certain required services including elevators not in
good working order due to improper leveling and defective public
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner, as represented by counsel,
filed a response on and stated, among other things, that the
elevator and public area windows were in good working order.
The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject
building. The inspection was conducted on February 12, 1988 and
revealed the following:
1. The two elevators do not stop level at each floor
and the indicator lights are inoperative/defective.
The elevators do not always stop at the floors
pressed either from the station or the inside of
2. Twenty-one (21) public area windows cracked.
Windows require caulking and painting.
On April 19, 1988 the Administrator sent the owner a notice
wherein it was informed of the results of the inspection and
afforded an opportunity to respond. On May 10, 1988 the owner
notified the Administrator that the elevator had been repaired and
that it had accepted a proposal to replace the windows.
The Administrator issued the order here under review on June
17, 1988. A $25.00 per month rent reduction was ordered for rent
controlled tenants. Rent stabilized tenants were granted a rent
reduction of an amount equal to one guideline increase. The
Commissioner notes that an amended order was issued by the
Administrator on March 30, 1989 wherein certain tenants who were
inadvertently omitted from the June, 17, 1988 order were included
and the status of two tenants were corrected to reflect their rent
stabilized status. The June 17, 1988 order was unchanged in all
On appeal the owner states that it quickly repaired the
elevator and contracted for repair of the windows after notice of
the inspector's report, that it notified the Administrator of this
effort in the May 10, 1988 response described above, that rent
reduction of $12.00 per month ordered for the defective elevators
should have been apportioned according to the floor on which the
affected tenant resides, and that the $13.00 rent reduction ordered
for the defective windows is excessive. The petition was served on
the tenants on October 3, 1988.
The tenants filed a response on October 10, 1988 and stated
that the conditions cited in the Administrator's order still exist
and that, therefore, the order should be affirmed.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be affirmed
as modified herein.
The Commissioner finds that the Administrator correctly
ordered the rent reduction for the condition existing with regard
to the public area windows. The owner's May 10, 1988 letter to the
Administrator and it's assertions in this administrative appeal
proceeding are identical, in that it admitted it was not
maintaining this service but stated that it had accepted a proposal
for the repair of the windows. The acceptance of a contractor's
proposal is not a proper substitute for the maintenance of a
required or essential service. The fact that 21 windows were found
to be in need of repair amply justified the Administrator's
ordering of a $12.00 rent reduction for rent controlled tenants.
The Administrator based this determination on the record including
the results of the on-site physical inspection described above.
With regard to the elevators, the Commissioner acknowledges
that enforcement of applicable standards regrading elevator
operation and safety is under the jurisdiction of the New York City
Department of Buildings, which has long established, comprehensive
procedures and inspection programs in place. The staff engaged in
carrying out these programs has the necessary technical expertise
to conduct periodic inspections; to interpret and apply relevant
codes, regulations and industry standards and to issue violations.
Further, in view of the City's greater experience with elevator
enforcement, the City is in a better position than the DHCR to
determine appropriate performance standards and ancillary equipment
for elevators of varying age and manufacture.
The Commissioner notes that a search of the Department of
Building records has revealed that no violations regarding elevator
operation were issued while the complaint was pending before the
Administrator. Therefore, the Commissioner finds that sufficient
evidence does not exist to support the Administrator's finding
regarding the elevators. This finding must, therefore, be revoked.
By reason of the foregoing, the order here under review is
modified to delete the finding regarding elevator operation. The
rent reduction ordered for rent stabilized tenants is affirmed.
The rent reduction ordered for rent controlled tenants is modified
to be $13.00 per month. If any rent controlled tenant owes arrears
by reason of the Commissioner's determination herein, the arrears
may be paid off in installments of $12.00 per month or
immediately if any tenant vacates. With regard to rent stabilized
tenants, the automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that
resulted by the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance of
this order and opinion.
The Commissioner notes that the owner's rent restoration
application (Docket No. DL130027OR) has been granted.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code and
Rent and Eviction Regulations it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted in part, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed as modified herein.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA