ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. DA 410257-RO

                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          ------------------------------------X  S.J.R. NO. 5640 
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET  NO.  DA  410257-RO
                                                      
                                              :     D.R.O.    DOCKET     NO.
                                                 BH 410003-OD
              TREGER REALTY CO.                                    
              C/O          ROSENBERG          &          ESTIS          P.C.
                                                                            
                                 PETITIONER   :  
          ------------------------------------X 

           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING IN PART PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE 
                                        REVIEW


               The  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a   Petition   for
          Administrative Review against an order issued on December 14, 1988 
          by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street,  Jamaica,  New
          York, concerning housing  accommodations  known  as  161  W.  16th
          Street, New York, New York, various apartments. 

               On January 25, 1991 the  Commissioner  issued  an  Order  and
          Opinion dismissing the petition as untimely filed.  Thereafter the 
          owner commenced a proceeding in  the  Supreme  Court  pursuant  to
          Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and  Rules,  requesting  that
          the Commissioner's order be annulled.  This resulted  n  a  court-
          ordered stipulation of settlement remanding the proceeding  for  a
          determination of the owner's petition for  administrative  review,
          considered as timely filed.  

               This proceeding stems form an application filed by the  owner
          herein seeking the Division's permission  to  modify  services  to
          wit:  Renovate the lobby of the subject building  (constructed  in
          1932), convert the two manually operated  passenger  elevators  to
          automatic   operation;   and   institute   uniform   doorman/lobby
          attendant services 24 hours per day, seven days a week.  

               Various tenants responded to the  application  and  expressed
          their opposition to the elimination  of  manned  elevator  service
          stating, among other things, that  the  proposed  modification  of
          services will violate and threaten existing building security  and
          result in a loss of essential services; that the modification  may
          provide the owner the opportunity  to  apply  for  potential  rent
          increases; that the presence of the elevator  operators  makes  it
          unfeasible for criminal activity to occur  in  the  elevators  and




          that the security problem is more acute because Barney's  Clothing
          Store occupies the first through fourth floors of the building and






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. DA 410257-RO
          store employees are constantly in the building and have  exclusive
          use of the service elevator during many hours of the working day.

               During the course of the  proceeding  which  entailed,  among
          other things, two physical inspections and a  review  of  detailed
          plans of the main and basement floors, it was elicited  that  only
          one of the two passenger elevators (situated side by side) operate 
          at any given time; that manned elevator service is provided  on  a
          24 hour per day basis by four  full-time  elevator  operators  who
          work eight hour shifts plus a part  time  elevator  operator  (two
          shifts); and that a doorman/lobby attendant was never  a  provided
          service. 

               The order of the Administrator, appealed herein, granted  the
          owner's  request  for  permission  to  modify  services  upon  the
          following conditions: 

                    "1.  The owner install closed circuit television
                    cameras in the  automatic  elevators  and  a  controlled
                    (sic) panel at doorman's station in the lobby.
                          
                    2.  Install a 'look out' (sic) device in the freight 
                    elevators to limit the access of Barney's Clothing
                    Store personnel to the First, Second, Third and Fourth
                    floors in subject building.

                    3.  The rent controlled and rent stabilized 
                    tenants shall not pay any portion of cost or
                    a rent increase for the installation of the 
                    automatic elevators or doorman services.     

                    4.  Install a buzzer on the doors in the lobby
                    which open into the internal stairway so that 
                    it  will  ring  at  the  doorman's  desk  when   opened.

                    5.  Provide relief personnel to replace the doorman 
                    or lobby attendant when absent from their station in
                    the  lobby.   Owner  is  required  to  maintain  doorman
                    services 24 hours per day, 7 days a week."

               In this petition for administrative review the owner  objects
          to such portion of the administrator's order which determined that 
          the tenants shall not be obligated to pay any portion of the  cost
          or a rent increase for the installation of automatic elevators  or
          doorman services.

               After a careful  consideration  of  the  entire  record,  the
          Commissioner is of  the  opinion  that  this  petition  should  be
          granted in part.





               At the outset the Commissioner notes that the  conversion  of
          the existing passenger elevators (installed in 1932) to  automatic
          operation would not be inconsistent with the applicable provisions 
          of the Rent Stabilization Code and the Rent and Eviction 
          Regulations for New York City provided the same level  of  service






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. DA 410257-RO
          is maintained.  It is not a question of whether the conversion  to
          automatic  operation  will  result  in  a  decrease  in   vertical
          transportation but  whether  such  conversion  will  result  in  a
          decrease in building-security and ancillary services. 

               The conversion to automatic operation is most often sought in 
          buildings serviced by more than one passenger  elevator  in  order
          for an owner to  reduce  its  payroll  costs.   Since  this  often
          results in a substantial savings  to  the  owner,  the  conversion
          process would be approved on condition  that  a  portion  of  this
          savings is passed on to the residential tenants in the form  of  a
          waiver of any potential  rent  increase  for  what  may  otherwise
          qualify as a major capital improvement.  

               In  the  case  at  hand,  the   record   discloses   that   a
          doorman/lobby attendant  was  never  a  service  provided  to  the
          tenants.  Rather, building security was provided on a 24 hour  per
          day basis by the employment of four full-time  elevator  operators
          and one part-time elevator  operator.   Since  the  owner  remains
          obligated to provide 24 hour per day manned coverage of the  lobby
          entrance and elevators by means of electronic  surveillance,  this
          redeployment  of  building  staff  constitutes   a   substantially
          equivalent service and would not result in  any  appreciable  cost
          savings to  the  owner.   Neither  would  it  constitute  such  an
          increase in service as to warrant a rent increase therefor. 

               On the other hand, the record discloses that  the  conversion
          of the two passenger elevators from manual to automatic  operation
          would result in a decrease in waiting time and an  improvement  in
          vertical transportation to the tenants of  the  subject  high-rise
          building since under the  current  system  only  one  of  the  two
          manually operated elevators is  in  service  at  any  given  time.
          It would not, therefore, be inconsistent  with  the  purposes  and
          intent of the Rent Laws and Regulations to permit an owner to make 
          application for a rent increase predicated upon the  upgrading  of
          the passenger elevators  to  automatic  operation  (including  new
          controller selectors), exclusive of the  cost  of  any  electronic
          surveillance and monitoring system installed as a condition of the 
          Administrator's order appealed herein. 

               THEREFORE, in accordance with  the  provisions  of  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,
          granted in part; that the order of the Rent Administrator be,  and
          the same hereby is modified by changing condition No.  3  of  said
          order  to  read  as  follows:   "The  rent  controlled  and   rent
          stabilized tenants shall not pay any portion of the cost or a rent 


          increase  for  the  institution  of  doorman  services,  and   the
          installation of closed circuit television cameras in the automatic 
          elevators and  the  monitoring  control  panel  at  the  doorman's
          station." and that as so modified said  order  be,  and  the  same
          hereby is, affirmed. 

          ISSUED:







          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO. DA 410257-RO






                                                                        
                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner



                                          






























    

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