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
APPEALS OF DOCKET NOS.: DA110210RO
RICHARD ALBERT RENT
NORA & AGATHA FITZGERALD ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING OWNER'S PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW IN PART AND DENYING TENANT'S PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
The above referenced administrative appeals have been
consolidated as both contain common issues of law and fact and are
appeals of the same rent reduction order.
The above named petitioner-owner and petitioner-tenant filed
timely Petitions for Administrative Review against an order of the
Rent Administrator issued on December 29, 1988. The order concerned
housing accommodations known as Apt 2B located at 93-41 222nd
Street, Queens Village, N.Y. The Administrator directed
restoration of services and ordered a rent reduction for failure to
maintain required services.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by these
This proceeding was commenced on April 23, 1987 by the filing
of a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services wherein it was
alleged, in sum, that the owner was not maintaining certain
required apartment services.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on June 24,
1988 and stated, in substance, that all required services are being
maintained and that this proceeding is one of 28 dockets
consolidating 306 complaints received on the same day.
The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject
apartment. The inspection was conducted on November 14, 1988. The
apartment was reinspected on December 21, 1988. The inspections
revealed the following:
1. Intercom system not working properly,
2. Bell and buzzer system not working properly,
3. Vermin infestation in apartment,
4. Walls and ceiling in need of scraping and have
peeling paint and plaster, and
5. Exterior screens on bedroom window not installed
All other services complained of were found to have been
The Administrator issued the order being appealed on
December 29, 1988 and ordered a rent reduction of an amount equal
to the percentage of the most recent guidelines adjustment for the
lease commencing prior to June 1, 1988.
Both the owner and tenant have appealed the Administrator's
order. The owner states that the order being appealed makes
contradictory findings with regard to the need for scraping of the
apartment walls and ceilings, that prior DHCR proceedings have
determined that the bell and buzzer system, intercom and screens
are not required services and that extermination services are
provided on a regular basis. The petition was served on the tenant
on February 23, 1989. The tenant filed a response and requested
that the order being appealed be affirmed.
The tenant's petition requests that the Administrator's order
be modified to reflect that the tenants of the subject apartment
are Nora and Agatha Fitzgerald. The order being appealed sets forth
Nora Fitzgerald as the tenant. The petition was served on the
owner on February 7, 1989.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the tenant's petition should be
denied but that the owner's petition should be granted in part and
the order being appealed should be affirmed as modified herein.
With regard to the tenant's appeal, the tenants are advised
that the rent reduction runs with the apartment and not the tenant
or tenants whose name appears on the complaint. Therefore, so long
as the apartment is properly designated on the order being
appealed, the fact that both tenants were not listed as tenants is
not grounds for modifying the order.
The owner's appeal is granted in part, to the extent of
revoking the findings regarding the intercom and bell and buzzer
system. The Commissioner notes that prior rulings have established
that the owner is not required to maintain an intercom or bell and
buzzer system in the subject building (see SJR 4776; BB130149RT;
BB130151RT; BB130356RO; CK110096RO).
The order is affirmed with regard to the findings regarding
the infestation, peeling paint and plaster and screens. The
Commissioner notes that, pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent
Stabilization Code, a tenant may apply to the DHCR for a rent
reduction based on the owner's failure to maintain required
services and the Administrator shall reduce the rent upon finding
that such services have not been maintained. The Code defines
required services to be those services the owner was required to
maintain on the applicable base date including repairs and
The findings regarding vermin infestation, peeling paint and
plaster and missing screens are supported by the entire record
including the results of the on-site physical inspections described
above. The Commissioner notes that, with regard to the screens,
the owner has not established that this service is not a "required
service" within the meaning of the Code. The owner does no more
than express a belief based on the age of the building.
With regard to the peeling paint and plaster, the owner argues
that the order being appealed states that the walls and ceilings
have not been scraped and then goes on to state that they have. A
review of the inspection reports reveals that the inspectors
reported that there was no water seepage from the walls and
ceilings but that they did need scraping and were peeling paint and
plaster. This finding is, therefore, affirmed. The owner's other
contentions on appeal are without merit. The order being appealed
is affirmed as modified.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement which
resulted from the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance
of this order and opinion. The Commissioner notes that the owner's
rent restoration application (Docket No. DB110059OR) has been
granted by the Administrator.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it
ORDERED, that the tenant's petition be, and the same hereby is
denied, and it is further
ORDERED, that the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted in part, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed as modified herein.
LULA M. ANDERSON