DE 430232-RO
                                    STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  DE 430232-RO             
                 ARTHUR D. ZINBERG,
                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.:    
                                  PETITIONER      CG 430029-B  

                                       IN PART

          On May 22, 1989, the above-named petitioner owner filed a Petition 
          for Administrative Review (PAR) appealing an order issued on April 
          20, 1989, by the Rent Administrator at Gertz Plaza, Jamaica, 
          New York, concerning the housing accommodations identified as 504 
          East 5th Street, New York, New York, wherein the Administrator 
          determined the tenants' complaint of an inoperative bell/buzzer 
          system or intercom system.

          The challenged order reduced the rents for rent controlled tenants 
          by $3.00 per month based on the results of an inspection conducted 
          on January 30, 1989, that confirmed the tenants' complaint of an 
          inoperative bell/buzzer system.  The inspector reported that there 
          was no evidence of an intercom system.  The rents for rent sta- 
          bilized tenants were not reduced as the tenants had not requested 
          a rent reduction.  The owner was further directed to restore 
          service to the required level.

          In a complaint joined by 19 of the 32 tenants, it was alleged that 
          the bell/buzzer system was broken, that the intercom did not work, 
          and that it was not possible to "buzz" someone in.

          The owner, responded that the Initial 1984 Services Registration 
          did not list either system as a required service provided by the 
          owner, that there had not been any system for at least forty (40) 
          years, and that all tenants who moved into the building commencing 
          in 1977 signed a statement acknowledging that there was no system 
          to "buzz" someone in.  The owner further advised that the building 
          has additional mailing addresses known as 66 Avenue A, and 187 East 
          4th Street.

          With the answer the owner provided signed statements from nine (9) 
          rent stabilized tenants retracting their signatures from the complaint.

          DE 430232-RO

          On appeal, the owner reiterates the assertions below, and submits 
          a statement, dated November 1977, signed by seventeen (17) tenants, 
          requesting the owner to "keep all entrance doors locked and [to] 
          disconnect the electric door opener so that no person can unlock 
          the entrance doors by buzzing the bell from his apartment".

          The owner also asserts that each wing of the building has its own 
          entrance and that apartments in other wings are not serviced by the 
          inoperative bell/buzzer system at 504 East 5th Street.  The owner 
          also states that there is no internal access between and among the 
          wings, and argues that the rent reduction should apply only to the 
          four rent controlled tenants who reside at 504 East 5th Street and 
          who are affected by the inoperative bell/buzzer.

          After careful consideration, the Administrator is of the opinion 
          that the petition should be granted in part.

          Section 2520.6(r) of the Rent Stabilization Code defines required 
          services as those services furnished or required to be furnished to 
          the continuous stabilized tenant on May 31, 1968 and all additional 
          services provided or required to be provided thereafter.  The base 
          date for essential services required under Section 2201.2 of the 
          Rent and Eviction Regulations is April 20, 1962.

          The tenants' November 1977 statement submitted by the owner, 
          requesting the owner to disconnect the electric door opener so that 
          no person can unlock the entrance door by buzzing the bell from his 
          apartment, contradicts the assertion of the owner's representative 
          that there has been no capability to "buzz" someone in for forty 
          years.  In fact, it suggests an admission by the owner that the 
          bell/buzzer system was eliminated after the base dates.  The 
          owner's argument that the order violated due process because it did 
          not specify why or when the bell system was inoperative is without 
          merit, particularly in light of the owner's statement that the 
          equipment may have been deliberately disconnected.

          In light of the evidence, a rent reduction for rent controlled 
          tenants is warranted.

          The owner is in error in asserting that the April 1, 1984 Initial 
          Service Registration is a new base date for determining required 
          services because the tenants failed to object to the owner's 
          registration, which did not list the bell/buzzer systems, and 
          because new tenants since 1977 acknowledged, in writing, that no 
          person can unlock the entrance door by buzzing a bell from the 
          apartment.  A tenant's failure to file objections to an owner's 
          registration statement does not act as a bar to a subsequent 
          complaint of decreased services.  Tenants can complain about 
          reductions in base date services at any time.

          DE 430232-RO

          Moreover, the registration system is inapplicable to rent 
          controlled tenants who are entitled to a rent reduction, pursuant 
          to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations when there 
          has been a decrease in the dwelling space, essential services, 
          furniture, furnishings or equipment required to be provided.

          The Commissioner, however, agrees that only the tenants who reside 
          in the portion of the building served by the entrance identified as 
          504 East 5th Street should get a rent reduction.  The tenants 
          identified the address of the building as 504 East 5th Street in 
          their complaint and indicated that the building has 32 apartments 
          when the Division's records show that the building has 76 apart- 
          ments.  A review of the answers to the petition filed by the 
          tenants confirms that the building has three separate entrances, 
          each with a separate intercom and/or bell/buzzer system, and that 
          the complaint and physical inspection concerned only the conditions 
          at the 504 East 5th Street entrance.  The rent reduction is, 
          therefore, revoked for all tenants except Mollie Gutman (Apt. 4-B), 
          Noah Gordon (Apt. 4-D), Joseph Feldman (Apt. 5-D), and Charlotte 
          Jones (Apt. 6-A).

          The Commissioner notes that a statement signed by some tenants 
          requesting elimination of the bell and buzzer service would not 
          give the owner authority to discontinue providing a required or 
          essential base date service.  The owner is referred to Section 
          2202.21 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations and Section 2522.4 of 
          the Rent Stabilization Code for the proper procedures for de- 
          creasing a service.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabiliza- 
          tion Law and Code, and of the City Rent Control Law, and the Rent 
          and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is,

          ORDERED, that the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is, 
          granted in part, and that the Administrator's order be, and the 
          same hereby is, modified in accordance with this Order and Opinion.


                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Acting Deputy Commissioner


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