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.: DE630209RO
DOCKET NO.: CH630120B
Interboro Holding Co.
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On May 11, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a
petition for administrative review (PAR) of an order issued on
April 26, 1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing
accommodation known as 2420 Morris Avenue, Various apartments,
Bronx, N.Y. wherein the Administrator determined that there had
been a decrease in services building wide and reduced the rent
accordingly effective November 1, 1988.
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the
record and has carefully considered that portion of the record
relevant to the issue raised by the administrative appeal.
This proceeding was commenced by the filing of a complaint of
decrease in services on August 30, 1988. An inspection conducted
by a Division employee on March 14, 1989 confirmed the existence of
some of the complained of conditions resulting in the
Administrator's order hereunder review.
In the PAR, the owner claims that the conditions for which the
rent was reduced are not the services which the tenants complained
of; that the failure to notify the owner of the reduced service
prior to the reduction of the rent is a deprivation of due process;
that the rent reduction is not consistent with Policy Statement 89-
1 which, the owner contends, holds that a rent reduction will not
be ordered where the alleged failure to maintain services involves
a minor condition that occurs normally despite ongoing maintenance
or recurs from time to time and is addressed through periodic
maintenance; that the agency has held that routine maintenance
problems do not warrant a rent reduction; and, that all services
were restored before the order was issued. The owner further
states in his PAR that the basement hallway was cleaned "that
afternoon" and auto parts were placed there by a tenant and were
disposed of the "next day"; that the empty tanks were hot water
tanks installed to provide heat and hot water while the main boiler
was being repaired and that the tanks remained on the premises
until the boiler company completed the necessary repairs; and that
the conditions found by the inspector were neither essential nor a
substantial deterioration of the housing accommodation.
The owner's PAR was served on the tenants on September 5,
1989. Various tenants responded claiming that the building is not
well maintained, that the halls are not swept, mopped, or waxed
daily as claimed.
The Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be
The Commissioner notes that the tenants' complaint of a
decrease in building wide services included a complaint regarding
the "regular maintenance of the building", specifically, that the
superintendent has failed to regularly clean the hallways,
incinerator and garbage areas. In response to this complaint the
owner stated, among other things, that waxing, sweeping, and
mopping were done on a daily basis by the resident superintendent.
The inspection conducted by a Division employee on March 14, 1989
revealed that the basement was filthy with dog droppings and that
the courtyard was also filthy and contained auto parts and 2 large
empty tanks. The Commissioner rejects the owner's contention that
the conditions for which the rent was reduced were matters which
were not complained of, were minor, or were matters of routine
maintenance. The condition complained of and the finding both fall
within the scope of inadequate janitorial services building wide.
The owner's reference to Policy Statement 89-1 is inapposite.
That policy statement was revised and replaced by Policy Statement
90-2 issued February 21, 1990. In the revised policy statement all
references to minor conditions occurring normally despite on-going
maintenance, or re-occurring despite periodic maintenance, have
been deleted. The policy was revised to reflect the holding in the
case of In the Matter of Hyde Park Gardens v. DHCR, 140 AD2 351,
527 NYS 2d 841 (2d Dept. 1988), affirmed 73 NY 2d 998, 541 NYS 2d
345 (1989) which held, among other things, that when an agency
inspection reveals diminutions in services, a rent reduction is
warranted and the Commissioner will not look into the extent of
such service diminutions.
The owner incorrectly asserts that the decrease in services
must involve essential services or amount to a substantial
deterioration of the housing accommodation. Section 2523.4 of the
Rent Stabilization Code, which is applicable in this case, provides
for a rent reduction where it is found that the owner has failed to
maintain required services. Required services as defined in Sec.
2520.6(r) include janitorial services and removal of refuse.
As for the due process considerations raised by the owner, the
record reflects that the owner was served with a copy of the
tenants' complaint in the proceeding below and filed a response
thereto on October 27, 1988. Further, there is sufficient
connection between the services complained of and the
Administrator's findings to conclude that the owner had sufficient
notice of the condition. The owner's assertion that the services
were restored before the order was issued does not warrant
modification or revocation of the order. A review of the record
clearly shows that the owner did not submit any evidence to the
Administrator that the conditions noted in the order had been
corrected prior to its issuance. In addition, the PAR while
claiming the services were restored the "same day" or the "next
day" does not indicate just what day that was.
Accordingly the Commissioner finds that the Administrator
properly based his determination on the entire record, including
the results of the on site inspection and that the rent reduction
ordered by the Administrator based on a determination that the
owner had failed to maintain services, was warranted.
The Commissioner notes that the Division's records reveal that
the owner's rent restoration application (Docket Number DE630139OR)
was granted on January 4, 1990.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and
Code, it is,
ORDERED, that the petition be, and the same hereby is denied,
and the Administrator's order be and the same hereby is, affirmed.
Joseph A. D'Agosta