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.: CK110085RO
RICHARD ALBERT RENT
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN
PART AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER
On November 25, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued on November 17, 1988 concerning the housing
accommodations known as Apt. 3T, 93-49 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 nine separate complaints
bearing various dates between March and November 1987. The
complaints alleged that the owner was not maintaining certain
required services, including in pertinent part, an inoperative
intercom and missing screens. The complaints were served on the
owner on May 26, 1988.
In response, the owner stated that screens are the tenant's
responsibility and that these complaints were prepared by a tenant
representative in violation of a court order.
A physical inspection by DHCR on September 26, 1988 revealed that
the intercom was inoperative and the left bedroom window screen was
Based on this report, the Rent Administrator issued the rent
reduction order appealed herein.
In the petition for administrative review, the owner asserts that
it was determined by DHCR in another proceeding that an intercom is
not a required service. With regard to the screens, he asserts
that the building is over 55 years old, that screens are not a base
date service provided to rent stabilized tenants, and that any
remaining screens are well beyond their useful life expectancy and
should have been discarded and replaced by the tenant many years
ago. The owner also asserts that a hearing was required before a
rent reduction order could be issued and that the complaints were
prepared by a tenant representative to harass the owner in
violation of a court stipulation.
The petition was served on the tenant on December 23, 1988.
In an answer dated January 10. 1988, the tenant states that she is
a party to the other DHCR proceeding wherein the issue of whether
the intercom is a required service is being addressed and is
awaiting the outcome of the appeals. As for the screens, the
tenant states that screens were on the windows when she took
occupancy on May 1, 1980 and that the owner has acknowledged his
obligation in this regard by repairing and refinishing all but the
one missing screen which was removed but not returned.
After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be granted
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 and any additional
space or services provided or required to be provided thereafter by
The Division's records confirm that the intercom issue was the
subject of other proceedings before the Division and that it was
determined in a Court order issued on May 24, 1991 that an intercom
system is not a required service in the subject building.
Accordingly, this item in the order appealed herein must be deleted
as a basis for the rent reduction.
With regard to the screen, however, the order is affirmed. The
tenant stated in the complaint that all the windows in the
apartment had screens but that one was removed for repair by the
owner and not returned. While the owner claims that screens are
not a required service, the fact that most of the windows do have
screens suggests that they were provided at one time. The owner's
attempt to shift the responsibility for replacing old and defective
screens on the tenant is inappropriate. If screens were formerly
provided, the Code provides that the owner, and not the tenant,
must repair or replace them when necessary.
Finally, there is no requirement in the applicable law or
regulations that a hearing is required before a rent reduction
order may be issued and the claim that the complaints were prepared
in violation of a court order is unsubstantiated.
The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent restoration
application was granted (Docket No. DE110071OR)
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,
ORDERED that this petition be and the same hereby is granted in
part and the Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby is
modified in accordance with this order and opinion and as so
LULA M. ANDERSON