Adm. Rev. Docket Number: DJ 230253-RO
                                 STATE OF NEW YORK
                     DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                           OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

        ------------------------------------X 
        IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
        APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: DJ 230253-RO 
                                            :  
             EMPIRE REALTY,                    DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                               DOCKET NO.: CL 230097-B  
                              PETITIONER    : 
        ------------------------------------X                           
          
           ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

        On October  13,  1989,  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
        Petition for  Administrative  Review  against  an  order  issued  on
        September 21, 1989,  by  the  Rent  Administrator  at  Gertz  Plaza,
        Jamaica, New York, concerning the  housing  accommodation  known  as
        150 Corbin Place,  Brooklyn,  New  York  wherein  the  Administrator
        granted rent reductions based on a finding of building-wide  service
        reductions.

        The applicable law is Section  2520.6(r)  and  2523.4  of  the  Rent
        Stabilization Code and  Section  2202.16  of  the  Rent  &  Eviction
        Regulations.

        The issue  in  these  proceedings  is  whether  the  Administrator's
        determination was proper.

        The tenants initiated the proceedings on October 26, 1988 by  filing
        a  complaint  of  decreased  services  building-wide,  alleging   in
        pertinent part, that seepage of rain  water  through  the  roof  and
        bricks had soiled interior ceilings and  walls.   The  tenants  also
        reported that pointing commenced by the owner was not completed. 

        The owner's submissions  received  on  or  about  January  17,  1989
        indicated, among other  items,  that  roof  leak  repairs  had  been
        completed prior to January 3, 1989 and that brick pointing had  been
        undertaken on the top 14 feet of the building.

        An inspection was conducted on May 25,  1989  by  a  member  of  the
        Division's inspection staff.  The inspector reported that the  north
        bulkhead ceiling was leak damaged and that a large area  of  plaster
        above the roof door was missing; that the south bulkhead ceiling and 
        walls had leak damage and peeling plaster; and that there were small 
        areas of peeling plaster  in  the  hallway  ceiling  throughout  the
        building.  Other conditions complained  about  by  the  tenant  were
        found to be maintained.

        Based on a finding that there was peeling paint and plaster 
        throughout the public area hallways, and bulkhead walls and ceiling, 
        the  Administrator  granted  rent  reductions  of  $4.00  for   rent
        controlled tenants.  The  rents  of  rent  stabilized  tenants  were
        reduced by the percentage of the most  recent  guideline  adjustment
        for each tenant lease which commenced before the effective  date  of
        the rent reduction, December 1, 1988.







        Adm. Rev. Docket Number: DJ 230253-RO

        The petitioner challenges the Administrator's determination  arguing
        that it was denied due process, in that the Administrator granted  a
        rent reduction for items not specifically  stated  in  the  tenant's
        complaint, and in that the owner was not notified that an inspection 
        was made, nor provided an  opportunity  to  address  the  inspectors
        findings, nor permitted a hearing.

        In addition, the petitioner argues that the rent reduction were  not
        warranted as peeling paint and plaster is  a  de  minimus  condition
        that occurs normally despite ongoing maintenance or recurs from time 
        to time, and is normally addressed as part of periodic maintenance.

        The petitioner also argues that rent reductions should not have been 
        granted to tenants who failed to sign the complaint.

        The  petitioner  arguement  that  it  was  denied  due  process  are
        rejected.  The tenants clearly stated that walls and  ceilings  were
        damaged.   The  owner  was  clearly  on  notice  of  the   defective
        conditions,  albeit  the  precise  language  did  not   mirror   the
        Administrator's findings, when it was served a copy of the  tenants'
        complaint.  The fact that the  inspector  reported  no  evidence  of
        defective pointing to exterior bricks did not relieve the  owner  of
        its responsibility to ascertain the underlying cause of the  damaged
        plaster, if different than that surmised by the tenants, or  of  the
        responsibility to correct the conditions found.

        The petitioner's argument of a denial of due process for failure  to
        serve notice of the inspection or to serve copies of the  inspection
        reports are, similarly rejected.  The Division's procedures  do  not
        require the Division to  give  the  parties  notice  of  inspections
        unless, in the Division's discretion, their  presence  is  required;
        nor to apprise the parties of the results.  Moreover, the inspection 
        report, prepared by a rent  agency  employee  not  a  party  to  the
        proceedings and not an adversary to the owner, was  properly  placed
        in  the  record  for  the  Administrator's  consideration,  and  was
        entitled to substantial weight.

        The Commissioner also rejects the petitioner's  characterization  of
        the peeling paint and  plaster  throughout  the  premises  as  a  de
        minimus item which  did  not  warrant  a  rent  reduction.   On  the
        contrary, the Division  has  consistently  held  peeling  paint  and
        plaster to  be  a  failure  to  maintain  services,  rather  than  a
        condition that  occurs  normally,  addressed  as  part  of  periodic
        maintenance.  Moreover the Courts have held that once  the  Division
        determines that a diminution of service has occurred, the Division 
        must order rent reductions.  Hyde Park Gardens vs DHCR,140 AD2d 351, 
        527 NYS 2d 841 (A.D. 2nd Dept) affd., 73 NY 2d 998 541  NYS  2d  345
        (Ct. App 1989).

        With regard to the request for a  hearing,  the  Commissioner  notes
        that the Rent Stabilization Code does not require the  Administrator
        to hold a hearing.  In the absence of such a mandate, all  that  due
        process requires is  that  reasonable  notice  be  afforded  to  the
        parties to the proceedings and that  they  have  an  opportunity  to
        present their objectives.  The record indicates that the  owner  had
        ample opportunity and did, in fact, submit  material.   Accordingly,
        it cannot successfully claim that it was denied due process.







        Adm. Rev. Docket Number: DJ 230253-RO

        Concerning the petitioner's request to revoke  rent  reductions  for
        tenants who did not sign the complaint, the Commissioner notes  that
        rent control provisions permit all rent controlled tenant to benefit 
        from building-wide reductions regardless of whether  they  signed  a
        complaint.  Rent stabilization provisions provide that  tenants  may
        apply for rent reductions.

        THEREFORE, in accordance with the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 
        1974, and Chapter 403 of the Laws of 1983, as amended by Chapter 102 
        of the Laws of 1984, it is

        ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied,  and
        that the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby 
        is, affirmed.

        ISSUED:




                                                                      
                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner


    

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