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.:
RICHARD ALBERT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
and DOCKET NO.:
ROSEMARY CHIESA, BL130115B
PREMISES: 93-49 222 St.
PETITIONERS Queens Village, New York
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING TENANT'S PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW AND DENYING OWNER'S PETITION FOR
In January, 1989 the above-named petitioner-owner and tenant filed
petitions for administrative review (PARs) of an order issued on
December 22, 1988, by a Rent Administrator wherein a rent reduction
was ordered based on a finding that certain services had not been
provided or maintained.
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 on appeal.
This proceeding was commenced in 1987 when sixteen separate com-
plaints were filed by three different stabilized tenants alleging
a decrease in building-wide services and requesting a rent reduc-
tion. The tenant alleged, among other things, a failure to
maintain the premises in a clean and sanitary condition, including
baseboards, radiators, handrails and mailboxes in need of cleaning
and/or polishing; basement entrance stairwells in poor condition;
backyard sidewalk in poor condition, and sidewalk in front of
building in poor condition.
In answer to the complaints, the owner asserted at the outset that
the complaints were all prepared by a tenant representative in
violation of a court-approved stipulation. With regard to specific
items, the owner asserted that it had been determined in prior
proceedings before the Division that the public areas were being
maintained in a clean condition.
Finally, the owner noted that the complaints involved in this
proceeding were among 306 complaints consisting of 982 pages
received by the owner on the same day, and argued that this
constitutes an abuse of the system by one tenant representative.
A physical inspection of the premises was conducted by a Division
of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) employee on November 23,
1988. The inspector reported the following conditions:
1. Public areas in need of sweeping and washing;
2. Baseboards and areas behind radiators dirty;
3. Handrails, mailboxes and bell and buzzer
system need cleaning;
4. Basement entrance to stairwells has cracked
steps and missing cement; backyard sidewalk
has cracks and missing cement; area of side-
walk in front of building sagging.
Based on the inspection report, the Administrator directed res-
toration of services and further ordered a guideline rent reduction
for the three complaining tenants and a $12.00 per month rent
reduction for all rent controlled tenants in the building.
The owner in his petition for administrative review points out that
this proceeding involves sixteen separate complaints signed on
various dates between May 1987 and April 1988 and again asserts
that this is one of 28 dockets involving 306 complaints received on
the same day.
The owner asserts that in another proceeding (Docket No.
QCS000151B) it was determined after a hearing that there was satis-
factory cleaning of the public areas.
The owner argues that the fact that the inspector found many items
were restored, established that the owner is providing required
maintenance the rent reduction should be rescinded.
The owner contends that a prior DHCR order determined that services
such as cleaning the mailboxes were provided by tenants themselves
and in any event are too minor a condition to warrant a rent
The owner again refers to a court-approved stipulation that he
asserts is being violated by the preparation of multiple complaints
for other tenants, by one tenant representative.
The owner also states that many tenants who were granted a rent
reduction did not sign any complaint, that the list of rent
controlled tenants does not match the owner's list, that it was
determined in a prior compliance proceeding that the owner had
repaired the sidewalk, that the tenants have no reason to use the
basement entrances which are for building personnel only, and that
the backyard sidewalks are also not for tenant use and the repairs
were not a high priority on the repair schedule but have now been
With regard to Apartment 14, the owner states that the tenant of
record is Robert Chiesa, not Rosemary Chiesa, and the apartment is
rent controlled, not stabilized.
The owner's petition was served on all tenants who were awarded a
rent reduction on March 27, 1989. Two rent controlled tenants
submitted responses stating in substances that the building is well
maintained and that they did not join in any complaints. Two
stabilized tenants also filed answers urging that the owner's
petition be denied because the Administrator's order was properly
based on the inspection results.
The tenant asserts in her petition that her apartment is rent
controlled and the order should specify a dollar amount rent
After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the tenant's petition should be
granted and the owner's petition should be denied.
Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires DHCR to
order a rent reduction upon application by a tenant where it is
found that the owner has failed to maintain required services.
Required services are defined by Section 2520.6(r) to include
repairs, maintenance, janitorial services and removal of refuse.
A similar provision in the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorizes
a rent reduction based on a finding of failure to maintain essen-
tial services. The reduction amount is to reflect the decreased
rental value of the accommodations because of the decreased ser-
vices and is granted to all rent controlled tenants in the building
regardless of whether they joined in filing the complaint.
The Commissioner finds that based on the on-site physical inspec-
tion which confirmed that certain building-wide services were not
being maintained, the rent reduction ordered by the Administrator
The owner's assertion that in a prior proceeding, it was determined
that the public areas were being maintained in a clean condition
does not establish that the finding in this proceeding that jani-
torial services are inadequate was in error. This is a services
that must be provided on an on-going basis and may deteriorate at
anytime which, if confirmed by an agency inspection, would warrant
a rent reduction, despite an earlier determination that the service
was being provided.
Similarly, the finding in a Compliance proceeding that the sidewalk
had been patched does not preclude a subsequent determination that
repairs are needed to correct a sagging condition.
It is unfortunate that so many complaints were filed against the
petitioner at the same time but nothing in the applicable law and
regulations precludes such multiple filings. Efforts are made by
the Division to consolidate related proceedings and to avoid dupli-
cative rent reductions for identical items.
The fact that many services were found to have been restored does
not establish that the rent reduction ordered herein is not war-
ranted. The Administrator's order found that there was no evidence
of graffiti, that the window panes in the public areas had been
repaired, that the sidewalk had been patched, that the area above
the courtyard has been painted, that the screening had been
repaired and that the public area windows open adequately. These
are separate and distinct items from those which formed the basis
for the rent reduction and are not relevant to the validity of the
finding that these other services were not being properly
The allegation that some of the conditions found to be defective
are in areas that are not for tenant use was not raised before the
Administrator and is, therefore, beyond the scope of review of
these administrative appeals.
Finally the owner has asserted that a court stipulation involving
the tenant representative who filed these complaints prevents her
from doing so. The owner did not submit a copy of this stipulation
but it was submitted in conjunction with other proceedings and a
careful reading of its terms reveals that it does not state what
the owner purports that it states.
The tenant's assertion in her petition that the Administrator's
order should have granted a rent reduction of a dollar amount
pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations is
correct. The owner agrees and the Division's records confirm that
Apartment 1-Y is rent controlled. The Administrator's order is
therefore, amended to include Apartment 1-Y among the rent
controlled apartments which were granted a $12.00 per month rent
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabiliza-
tion Law and Code, and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New
York City, it is
ORDERED, that the tenants' petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted, and the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby,
is affirmed, as modified.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA