STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL
JAMAICA, NY 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEALS OF DOCKET NOS.:
c/o Marin Management
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On August 1 and 21, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner filed
petitions for administrative review of an order issued on July 20,
1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing
accommodation known as various apartments at 131 Joralemon Street,
Brooklyn, N.Y. wherein the Administrator determined that the owner
was not maintaining certain required or essential services,
directed restoration of such services, and ordered a rent
reduction. The petitions are substantially the same and are being
consolidated for disposition herein.
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 record reveals that 26 tenants joined in filing a complaint on
October 19, 1988 alleging a failure to maintain certain building-
wide services. Specifically, the tenants alleged that the lock on
the inside lobby front door is broken, that the elevator is
frequently out of service, and that the roof leaks resulting in
peeling paint and plaster on the sixth floor.
In answer to the complaint, the owner stated that the front door
has been repaired, that the elevator is kept in excellent working
condition pursuant to a service contract, and that a new roof and
new skylight were installed in September 1988 but any possible
leaks would be investigated.
A physical inspection by DHCR on April 10, 1989 revealed that the
bulkhead walls and 6th floor hallway ceilings have peeling paint
and plaster. All other conditions were found to have been
Based on the inspector's report, the Rent Administrator issued an
order reducing the rent for all rent controlled tenants in the
building by $4.00 per month and by a guideline for all rent
stabilized tenants who joined in filing the complaint.
In the petitions for administrative review, the owner asserts that
the peeling paint on the bulkhead is a de minimis condition that
does not warrant a building-wide rent reduction, that all other
conditions were found to have been corrected, and that one tenant
(Apt. 36) has informed the owner in writing that his signature on
the complaint was obtained by fraudulent means. A copy of that
tenant's letter is attached to the petition.
The petitions were served on all affected tenants. Several
submitted answers claiming in substance that only the peeling paint
and plaster on the sixth floor had been repaired but that several
other conditions still need to be corrected. The tenant
representative vigorously denied that any signatures on the
complaint were fraudulently obtained.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the petitions should be denied.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, DHCR is
required to order a rent reduction upon application by tenants,
when it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required
services. Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to
include repairs and maintenance.
Similarly, Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations
authorizes a rent reduction based on a decrease in essential
services. Essential services are defined in Section 2200.3 to
include repairs and maintenance.
The evidence of record including the physical inspection on April
10, 1989 adequately established that the owner failed to complete
all necessary repairs despite ample notice and opportunity to do
so. Although some conditions were found to have been corrected,
the inspector specifically confirmed the tenants' complaint that
the peeling paint and plaster condition on the top floor had not
been repaired. Based on this report, the rent reduction ordered by
the Administrator was warranted.
As for the tenants affected by the rent reduction, the Commissioner
notes that pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction
Regulations, a finding of failure to maintain building-wide
services results in a reduction in the rental value of the housing
accommodations for all rent controlled tenants in the building
regardless of whether they signed the complaint.
For rent stabilized tenants, the rent reduction must be applied for
and only those who actually sign the complaint are entitled to the
reduction. In the instant case, if the tenant of Apartment 36 did
not sign the complaint, he need not take the reduction.
The Division's records reveal that the owner's second rent
restoration application was granted on February 14, 1991.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
for rent stabilized tenants by the filing of this petition is
vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is
ORDERED, that these petitions be and the same hereby are denied and
the Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby is affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA