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.: DF430044RO
DOCKET NO.: CI430045B
Plaza Realty Investors,
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On June 6, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a
petition for administrative review of an order issued on May 2,
1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing
accommodations known as 1476 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y.,
various apartments, wherein the Administrator determined that the
rent for rent stabilized apartments should be reduced to the level
in effect prior to the last rent guideline increase which commenced
before the effective date of the order based upon a diminution of
services and further determined that the maximum legal rent for
rent controlled apartments should be reduced by $8.00 per month
based upon a diminution of services. The Rent Administrator's
order was based upon an inspection held on February 17, 1989, which
disclosed that although several service items had been corrected,
some had not. The inspection of February 17, 1989 revealed that
the front entrance door is warped; the bottom part of the floor is
missing and further that the public area hallway floors are stained
in some areas.
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.
The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly
reduced the rent of various rent stabilized and rent controlled
apartments in the subject building.
On appeal, the petitioner-owner asserted that at the time of
the DHCR's inspection most repairs were corrected and that those
conditions which remained were isolated occurrences and are
considered ordinary maintenance and that these same conditions were
minor in nature and not worthy of a rent reduction. The owner
enclosed with the petition a photograph of the front door
purporting to show that it is not defective.
The petition was served on the tenants on September 14, 1989.
Several tenants submitted answers claiming that the photograph is
misleading because it does not show the bottom portion which has a
large opening that has not been repaired.
After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record
the Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative appeal
should be denied.
The tenants filed a Statement of Complaint of a decrease in
Building-Wide services on September 14, 1988.
On November 2, 1988, the owner filed an answer below alleging
that it is taking notice of the requested repairs and that
immediate arrangements for repair work will be effectuated.
Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations provides
that an owner's failure to maintain services may result in an order
of decrease in maximum rent, in an amount determined by the
discretion of the Rent Administrator.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code,
a tenant may apply to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
(DHCR) for a reduction of the legal regulated rent to the level in
effect prior to the most recent guidelines adjustment, and the DHCR
shall so reduce the rent for the period for which it is found that
the owner has failed to maintain required services.
Required services are defined in Section 2200.3 of the Rent
and Eviction Regulations and Section 2520.6(r) of the Rent
Stabilization Code to include repairs and maintenance.
A review of the record before the Commissioner clearly shows
that the owner did not submit any evidence that the deficiencies
noted in the inspection of February 17, 1989, had been corrected.
The owner's claim on appeal that repairs were in progress is
not material insofar as it had ample opportunity to make all
repairs in a workmanlike manner, but had failed to completely do so
before the issuance of the Rent Administrator's order.
The Commissioner has also considered and rejects petitioner's
claims on appeal that the conditions found below are ordinary
maintenance, minor in nature and not rent-reducing items. A warped
front entrance door with a bottom piece of the door missing is a
service reduction worthy of the owner's attention as is stained
public hallways. These deficiencies should have been immediately
corrected. Clearly, the conditions found were not minor items that
occur normally despite ongoing maintenance or which would be
addressed as part of periodic maintenance.
The Commissioner finds that the Administrator properly based
his determination on the entire record, including the results of
the on-site physical inspection conducted on February 17, 1989, and
that pursuant to Section 2523.4 (a) of the Code and Section 2203.16
of the Rent and Eviction Regulations the rent reductions ordered by
the Administrator, based upon a rent determination that the owner
had failed to maintain services, were warranted.
Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the owner has offered
insufficient reason to disturb the Rent Administrator's
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent and
Eviction Regulations for New York City and the Rent Stabilization
Law and Code, it is,
ORDERED, that the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is,
Upon a restoration of services the owner may separately apply
for a rent restoration.
Joseph A. D'Agosta