DH110036RO et al.
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEALS OF                            DOCKET NOS.:                 
                                                DH110036RO; DH110037RO;
                                                DH110038RO; DH110039RO;
                                                DH110040RO; DH110041RO;
                                                DH110042RO; DH110043RO
               Richard Albert,                                        
                                                RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                DOCKET NO.: BL130117B       

               On August 7, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner filed  
          petitions for administrative review of an order issued on July 3, 
          1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodation known as 94-03, 94-05, 94-07, 93-41 93-43, 93-45, 
          and, 93-49 222 Street, Various apartments, Queens Village, N.Y., 
          wherein the Administrator reduced the rent upon a finding of a 
          decrease in services.

               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 multiple 
          complaints of a decrease in services.  Inspection by a Division 
          employee on April 17, 1989 confirmed the existence of some of the 
          complained of conditions resulting in the July 3, 1989 orders which 
          reduced the rent by various amounts for rent controlled and by a 
          guideline for rent stabilized tenants.

               The conditions found by the Administrator to merit finding of 
          decreased services were missing basement window screens, cracked 
          and broken walkways with loose cement, garbage accumulation at 
          bottom of stairwells, courtyard directory and chain stanchions are 
          bent and loose, 18 large sections of trees trunk lying behind one 
          building, grounds in need of cleaning of accumulated leaves, and 
          hedges in need of trimming.


          DH110036RO et al.

               In the various PARs, the owner contends that the order under 
          review herein is actually one of nine separate orders issued under 
          the same docket and is the result of 37 separate complaints.  The 
          owner's PARs, in the interest of economy, consolidate and address 
          all nine orders.

               The owner's PARs as they address the findings in the orders 
          issued for the various apartments state as follows: that basement 
          window screens are not a base date service; that the screens were 
          added at a later date to prevent vandalism; that broken sidewalk 
          concrete is the subject of ongoing maintenance as each year the 
          winter freezing creates more sidewalk cracks; that prior to the 
          issuance of the order on July 3, 1989 1500 feet of sidewalk had 
          been either repaired or replaced; that the sidewalk complaint is a 
          duplication of the finding in QCS000601-B and that in connection 
          with that docket the Compliance Division of this agency determined, 
          based on an inspection March 26, 1987, that the broken pavement had 
          been repaired and was no longer a hazardous condition; that the 
          tree trunks and grounds relate to items of appearance and that the 
          log sections placed side by side against the fence look attractive 
          and provide protection against vehicles damaging the fence; that 
          the hedges were trimmed and the accumulation of leaves were removed 
          as of the date of the order; that spring cleanup is outside the 
          scope of rent regulations; that the order in an apparent 
          contradiction states both, that there is garbage at the bottom of 
          the stairway and, that there is no accumulation of refuse in the 
          basement entrances, rampwells, and stairwells; that various 
          conditions found by the Administrator to be maintained indicate 
          that the owner is providing regular maintenance; that the 
          inspection process is biased and flawed; that tenants are signing 
          multiple meritless complaints; and that federal law requires he be 
          given a hearing before penalties are imposed in this case.

               Various tenants interposed answers requesting the denial of 
          the owner's petition.

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that theses petitions 
          should be denied.

               The report of inspection clearly found an accumulation of 
          garbage at the bottom of the basement stairwells between buildings 
          93-47 and 93-49.  The finding does not apply to the other buildings 
          in the complex.  It does, however, apply to the applicable 
          apartments in those buildings.  This is the reason for the apparent 
          contradiction between the various orders issued under this docket.


          DH110036RO et al.

               The Commissioner notes that although the owner alleges that 
          the sidewalk condition had been corrected prior to the issuance of 
          the order under review, he had offered no evidence to substantiate 
          this allegation before the Rent Administrator.  Accordingly, the 
          owner has offered insufficient reason to disturb the Rent 
          Administrator's order.

               In addition the very nature of sidewalks, cement, and concrete 
          requires that regular maintenance be carried out.  Climate and 
          conditions, such as temperature, rain, ice, etc. cause expansion 
          and contraction of surfaces leading to breakage as the owner has 
          indicated in the petition.  Conditions monitored at one point in 
          time are not necessarily probative of later or earlier conditions.  
          Accordingly, prior administrative determinations have relied upon 
          the greater weight of later inspections occurring prior to the 
          issuance of Administrator's order (whether they evince repair or 
          recurrence of breakage).  The Commissioner notes that the owner has 
          urged that the Commissioner rely upon the March 26, 1987 inspection 
          for the sidewalks (mentioned in the April 9, 1987 compliance letter 
          attached to the petition) and, indeed, the Commissioner has relied 
          on this inspection in prior cases as evidence of repair on the date 
          indicated.  However, in the instant case the inspection relied on 
          by the Administrator was carried out on April 3, 1989 - subsequent 
          to the inspection cited by the owner - and is entitled to more 
          weight since it is more probative of the conditions existing on 
          July 3, 1989 - the date of issuance of the Administrator's order.

               The owner's explanation that basement window screens are not 
          a base date service but were recently added to prevent vandalism, 
          lacks credibility particularly in view of the owner's statement in 
          his PAR that "the screens usually have large holes and are not 
          meant to keep out insects."  Furthermore, the inspection conducted 
          on April 17, 1989 indicated that window screens which were removed 
          when the basement windows were painted, were never replaced.  
          Moreover, a required service is defined by Sec. 2520.6(r) of the 
          Rent Stabilization Code as a service provided on the base date or 
          thereafter, so that once basement window screens were permanently 
          installed, they become required services that the owner must 
          continue to maintain.  
               The owner's explanation of the placement of the tree trunks is 
          likewise without merit as the logs placed in this manner against 
          the fence would offer no protection for the fence as against a 
          moving vehicle.  In addition, the inspection found that the logs so 
          situated could constitute a harborage for vermin.


               The Commissioner notes that although the owner alleges that 
          the Administrator's findings regarding hedge trimming, the 

          DH110036RO et al.

          courtyard directory, and the chain stanchions, had been corrected 
          prior to the issuance of the order under review, he offered no 
          evidence to substantiate this allegation before the Rent 
          Administrator.  Accordingly, the owner has offered insufficient 
          reason to disturb the Rent Administrator's order.  The Commissioner 
          rejects the owner's contention that spring cleaning is outside the 
          scope of rent regulation.   The above cited Code section defines 
          required services as including maintenance, janitorial services and 
          removal of refuse.  The accumulation of leaves and other natural 
          debris from the building grounds is therefore within the purview of 
          a required service under applicable law.

               The Commissioner finds there is no requirement in applicable 
          law which requires that a hearing be conducted before an order of 
          this type can be issued.  Affording an opportunity to present oral 
          testimony at a hearing is discretionary and it was not an abuse of 
          discretion to decline to conduct a hearing where the results of a 
          physical inspection confirmed the tenants' allegation of a failure 
          to maintain services.

               Lastly, owner has presented no evidence in support of his 
          contention that the inspection process is biased and flawed.

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and 
          Code, the City Rent Law and the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it, 
               ORDERED, that these petitions be, and the same hereby are, 
          denied, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same 
          hereby is, affirmed.


                                                  Joseph A. D'Agosta         
                                                  Deputy Commissioner        


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