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.: CG430041RO
First Regan Realty Corp. RENT
by Nick Pappas, Managing Agent ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On July 22, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a Petition
for Administrative Review (PAR) against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued on June 23, 1988 concerning the housing
accommodations known as various apartments at 275, 277, and 279
West 22nd Street, New York, NY wherein the Rent Administrator found
that certain services were not being provided or maintained,
directed restoration of such services, and ordered a rent
The Commissioner has reviewed all the evidence of record and has
carefully considered that portion relevant to the issues raised on
A review of the record reveals that on November 5, 1987, the
occupants of eight apartments in the subject 18 unit building
joined in filing a statement of complaint of decrease in building-
wide services. The complaint alleged that the resident
superintendent has been replaced with a visiting superintendent who
lives on East 96th Street and that, as a result, there has been a
decrease in building-wide services. The tenants claimed that the
lights in the public areas burn out and are not replaced for days
and sometimes weeks, that garbage cans are not attended to for long
periods of time, that the front doors are in need of repair and do
not provide adequate security, that the sidewalks and public areas
are frequently littered and dirty, that Con Edison cannot get
access to read the meters, and that the owner has told the tenants
that there cannot be a resident superintendent because there is no
In answer to the complaint, the owner stated that 24 hour
janitorial service is provided at the premises by a superintendent
whose phone number is conspicuously posted, that the front doors
and locks have been inspected and repaired as needed, that there
are no unsanitary or unlawful conditions at the premises, that the
residency of a superintendent is academic if the building is
properly provided with such service, that there is no documentation
that Con Edison has been unable to read the meters, and that the
tenants have improperly attempted to group these three separate
buildings into a single building.
A DHCR inspector visited 277 West 22nd Street on January 28 and
February 4, 1988. He reported that the outside light was burned
out, there was no garbage accumulation in the public areas, the
front door was not defective, the public areas were clean, and
there was no resident superintendent or emergency sign posted.
On February 24 and March 1, 1988, the inspector visited 275, 277,
and 279 West 22nd Street and reported that the outside lights were
inoperative, garbage cans were strewn about the sidewalk and there
were an inadequate number of cans, the lock for 279 was inoperative
but the locks for the other two buildings were not defective,
inadequate janitorial service was evident in all public areas, and
there was no resident superintendent or 24 hour emergency phone
Based on the inspector's reports, the Rent Administrator issued
orders reducing the rents of stabilized tenants by a guideline and
the rents of rent controlled tenants by $9.00 per month for:
1. Inoperative building entrance exterior lights.
2. Insufficient amount of garbage cans (6 for 3 buildings).
3. Inadequate janitorial services.
4. Inoperative building entrance door lock. (279 only).
In the petition for administrative review, the owner's managing
agent asserts, in substance, that rent reduction orders are
improperly based on an isolated inspection that did not give a fair
representation of the premises. The owner claims that the entrance
door lock at 279 is operational and was operational at the time the
complaint was filed, that there are now nine garbage cans which is
more than adequate, that some cans were missing when the inspector
visited because they had been vandalized, and that the tenants
never complained about the number of cans. The owner adds that the
lights were inoperative because the tenants insist upon installing
larger bulbs than the permissible 60 watts which causes the circuit
breakers to trip. The owner also claims that the finding regarding
inadequate janitorial service is improper because it does not
indicate to what degree or in what manner janitorial services are
insufficient and that such services are provided on a daily basis
by the superintendent.
The petition was served on the tenants on October 21, 1988. In
response, one tenant filed a lengthy and detailed answer, including
photographs, urging that the petition be denied because services
have not been restored.
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 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) as that space
and those services which the owner was maintaining or was required
to maintain on the applicable base date, including repairs,
decorating and maintenance, the furnishing of light, heat, hot and
cold water, elevator services, janitorial services and removal of
Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorizes a
rent reduction for rent controlled tenants based on a failure to
maintain essential services. Essential services are defined in
Section 2200.3 as those services which the landlord furnished or
was obliged to furnish on April 30, 1962 and which were included in
the maximum rent on that date, including in relevant part, repairs,
decorating and maintenance, the furnishing of light, janitor
service, and removal of refuse.
The rent reduction ordered by the Administrator was properly based
on the results of the on-site inspections by an impartial Division
employee who confirmed that there were inoperative entrance
exterior lights, insufficient garbage collection, inadequate
janitorial service and one inoperative entrance door lock. The
owner's petition does not establish any basis for modifying or
revoking this determination. The claim that repeated repairs are
made or that certain conditions are caused by vandals does not,
even if proven, excuse an owner from the continuing obligation to
maintain all required and essential services. Moreover, the
finding of an insufficient number of garbage cans and inadequate
janitorial services is directly related to the tenants' complaint
that superintendent services have been diminished.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
for rent stabilized tenants by the filing of the PAR is vacated
upon issuance of this order and opinion.
The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent restoration
application (Docket No. EA430172OR) was granted on August 8, 1991.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations 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