OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                   GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET 
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                           :   DOCKET NO.: DL-110133-RO
                    JAIME ASSOCIATES,         :   RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                              :   DOCKET NO.: DH-110571-S
                                PETITIONER    :                      


               On December 11, 1989, the above-named owner-petitioner filed 
          a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) of an order issued on 
          November 16, 1989 by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall 
          Street, Jamaica, NY, concerning the housing accommodation known as 
          102-30 Queens Boulevard, Apt. 5C, Forest Hills, NY, wherein the 
          Administrator directed the restoration of services, further finding 
          that a rent reduction based thereon was warranted.

               The issue in this appeal is whether the Administrator's order 
          was warranted.
               The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the 
          record and has carefully considered that portion of the record 
          relevant to the issues raised by the administrative appeal.  

               This proceeding was commenced on August 20, 1989 by the 
          subject tenant filing a complaint of decrease in services, 
          alleging, among other things, defective faucets in the kitchen and 
          bathroom, and broken floor tiles in the kitchen. 

               On September 1, 1989, a copy of the complaint was sent to the 
          owner with instructions to file an answer within twenty days.  The 
          record discloses that the owner submitted an answer on September 
          15, 1989, however such submission was filed belatedly in the case 
          record and, as a result, the Administrator did not take cognizance 
          of it prior to the issuance of the order.  The owner stated in the 
          answer, in pertinent part, that the items complained of had been 


          taken care of and further submitted a tenant-signed statement dated 
          September 8, 1989 to that effect. 

               On November 6, 1989, a Division staff member made a physical 
          inspection of the subject apartment to investigate the tenant's 
          claims.  The inspector reported, among other things, that ten floor 
          tiles in the kitchen were defective; that there was a leak from the 
          faucet mixer in the kitchen; and that there was a leak from the 
          cold water faucet in the bathroom.

               On November 16, 1989, the Administrator issued the order 
          hereunder review, reducing the tenant's rent to the level that was 
          in effect prior to the last rent guidelines increase.  The subject 
          order noted, erroneously, that the owner had failed to file answer, 
          resulting in the tenant's allegations being admitted; however, the 
          subject order also noted, correctly, that the rent reduction was 
          based upon an inspection, further citing the above-mentioned items 
          of the inspector's report.

               In the petition for administrative review, the owner seeks 
          reversal of the order, asserting that an answer had been filed 
          (certified mail receipt dated September 15, 1989 submitted) and the 
          order was therefore based in part on an error in fact by reflecting 
          that an answer had not been filed and deeming the allegations 
          admitted.  The owner resubmits a copy of the September 8, 1989 
          tenant-signed statement and claims that the leaks in the kitchen 
          and bathroom were corrected.  Also submitted with the PAR is 
          another tenant-signed statement, undated, wherein the tenant 
          advises that the kitchen faucet had been repaired and that new 
          kitchen floor tiles will be installed "when I am feeling better"--
          the owner claims that, based on this statement, the tenant caused 
          delay in completion of the tile work.

               The tenant did not file an answer to the petition.

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that the owner's petition 
          should be granted in part and the Rent Administrator's order should 
          be modified.

               Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, a 
          tenant may apply to the 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 2520.6(r) to include 
          repairs and maintenance.

               In the instant case, however, the owner has established that 
          an answer was filed, and that answer, which was not before the 
          Administrator, contained a statement, purportedly signed by the 
          tenant, that all necessary repairs listed in the complaint had been 
          done.  Based on this statement, the owner could reasonably assume 
          that no further action was required and that the proceeding before 
          the Division would be terminated without a rent reduction.  Due 
          process requires that such a signed statement, if submitted by an 
          owner, be served on the tenant and, if challenged, that the owner 
          be advised that the complaint was not being withdrawn.

               The subsequent physical inspection of the subject apartment 
          revealed that, contrary to the owner's allegation and the statement 
          allegedly signed by the tenant, the necessary repairs were not done 
          and could not possibly have been done properly in September 1989 if 
          two months later they were found to be defective by the Division's 
          inspector.  A rent reduction for these conditions is required 
          pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, but 
          because of the failure to verify the tenant's signature on the 
          signed work order or to advise the owner that the complaint was not 
          being terminated, the effective date of the rent reduction is 
          hereby modified to December 1, 1989, the first of the month 
          following issuance of the Administrator's order, when the owner had 
          actual knowledge that the complaint was still active and that the 
          agency's physical inspection revealed the need for additional 
               The Division's records reveal that the owner's rent 
          restoration application was granted on  November 15, 1990 (DRO 
          Docket No. EA-110044-OR).  

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and 
          Code, it is

               ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, 
          granted in part and the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same 
          hereby is, modified in accordance with this order and opinion, to 
          reflect the change in the effective date of the rent reduction to 
          December 1, 1989.


                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner



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