STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: CH110092RO
          RICHARD ALBERT                          RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
                                                  NO.: BG110862S

          On August 15, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued on July 13, 1988 concerning the housing 
          accommodations known as Apt. 2M, 94-07 222nd Street, Queens 
          Village, NY, wherein the Administrator determined that the owner 
          was not providing certain 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.

          The record indicates that the tenant filed a complaint on July 24, 
          1987 alleging that the owner was not maintaining certain services.

          In answer to the complaint, the owner stated that all services are 
          being provided and that it had been determined in another 
          proceeding that extermination service is available to any tenant 
          who requests it.

          A physical inspection by DHCR on March 7, 1988 revealed that there 
          were gaps between the floors and walls throughout the apartment 
          which permit rodent access, window screens throughout the apartment 
          were defective, and the screen in the master bedroom was missing.

          Based on this inspection, the Rent Administrator issued the order 
          appealed herein, reducing the legal regulated rent to the level in 
          effect prior to the most recent guidelines adjustment.

          In the petition for administrative review, the owner asserts that 
          the rent cannot be reduced for gaps between the walls and floors 
          because these gaps existed on the base date that it was determined 
          in another proceeding that the owner provides exterminating 


          service, that screens are the tenant's responsibility, and that a 
          hearing was required before the issuance of the subject order.

          The petition was served on the tenant on October 6, 1988.

          In answer to the petition, the tenant advises that he has vacated 
          the apartment but urges that the petition be denied because it is 
          without merit.

          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 an owner has failed to maintain required services.  
          Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) as that space 
          and those services provided on the base date including repairs and 
          maintenance and exterminating services.  The order appealed herein 
          properly reflects the results of the physical inspection which 
          found that required services were not being maintained.

          The owner's petition does not establish any basis for modifying or 
          revoking the Rent Administrator's order.  The tenant complained of 
          rodent infestation because of the owner's failure to plug up holes 
          between the floors and walls that permit mice to enter the 
          apartment.  In order to address this situation, which was confirmed 
          by the inspection, the owner was required to close the gaps between 
          the walls and floors.  It is not a valid defense to assert that the 
          defective conditions noted by the inspector have existed since the 
          base date.  Rodent infestation cannot be excused on the basis that 
          the conditions permitting the infestation have always existed.

          The other proceeding the owner relies on for the determination that 
          extermination services are available is not dispositive because the 
          tenant herein was not a party to that proceeding.  Moreover, 
          exterminating services must be provided on an ongoing basis and may 
          deteriorate at any time so that the finding in one case that such 
          service is available does not preclude a finding in another case 
          that such service is not available or is not effective.

          With regard to screens, the owner's allegation that this is the 
          tenant's responsibility was not raised below and is, therefore, 
          beyond the scope of review of this appeal which is limited to a 
          review of the facts and evidence that was before the Administrator. 

          Finally, there is no requirement in the applicable law or 
          regulations that a hearing is required before a rent reduction 
          order may be issued.

          The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent restoration 
          application was granted. (Docket No. CH110077OR)


          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.
          Therefore in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, 
          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
                                             Deputy Commissioner


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