DE410249RO
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                                  JAMAICA, NY 11433





          ------------------------------------x
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE          ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                                    DOCKET NO.:
                                                       DE410249RO
                    Columbus Property Co.,
                                                       RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                       DOCKET NO.:
                                                       BD430086B
                                   PETITIONER
          ------------------------------------x

            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On May 31, 1989, the above-named petitioner-owner timely refiled a 
          petition for administrative review (PAR) of an order issued on 
          December 18, 1987, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the 
          housing accommodations known as 326 Columbus Avenue, New York, 
          N.Y., wherein the Administrator determined that a reduction in rent 
          was warranted based upon a reduction in services.

          The Rent Administrator also directed full restoration of services.

          The Commissioner has reviewed all the evidence in the record and 
          has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the 
          issues raised by the administrative appeal.

          The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly reduced 
          the rent of the subject apartment based upon a diminution in 
          services.

          On April 30, 1987, the tenants filed a building-wide complaint 
          alleging that the owner failed to maintain services throughout the 
          subject building.

          The owner filed an answer to the complaint, on May 16, 1987, 
          alleging that the apartment numbers were removed as a security move 
          and that tenants may add their apartment numbers to the door-bell 
          intercom board if they so choose.  The owner further alleged that 
          the superintendent provides all required services and that the 
          complaint was filed as a ploy to prevent eviction proceedings from 
          being instituted against the tenant of apartment 4-J.
          A DHCR inspection conducted on September 23, 1987, revealed that 
          the apartment numbers have been removed from the door-bell intercom 












          DE410249RO

          board and that the self-closing door was not working properly.

          On appeal, the petitioner-owner asserted, in pertinent part, that 
          the Civil Court (Housing Court) Order, under Docket No. L & T 
          64237/87, dated July 8, 1987 which granted the tenant a rent 
          abatement of 10% of rent due the owner is "res judicata" on these 
          proceedings because the tenant has already received a 10% rent 
          reduction by the Court and is thus not entitled to an additional 
          rent reduction ordered by the Rent Administrator for the same 
          service deficiencies.  The owner also states that the apartment 
          numbers were replaced and the self-closing door was repaired long 
          before the Rent Administrator's order was issued.

          The petition was served on the tenant on September 8, 1989 and on 
          September 28, 1989, the tenant filed an answer to the petition 
          stating that the owner did not correct the service deficiencies and 
          the court decision affected only the subject apartment and did not 
          address a building-wide service complaint as does the instant 
          appeal.

          After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative appeal 
          should be denied.

          Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code, a 
          tenant may apply to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal 
          (DHCR) for 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.

          The Commissioner has considered and rejects the petitioner's claim 
          on appeal that the required repairs were made prior to the issuance 
          of the Rent Administrator's order.

          A copy of the tenants' complaint, specifying all deficiencies noted 
          in the appealed order was mailed to the owner on May 12, 1987 and 
          the Rent Administrator's order was issued on December 18, 1987.

          It is apparent that the owner had approximately seven months to 
          attend to the complained-of conditions, but had failed to do so 
          prior to the issuance of the Rent Administrator's order.



          The inspector's report clearly showed that even if the owner 
          attempted to correct the conditions prior to the issuance of the 
          Rent Administrator's order, it had failed to do so in a workmanlike 
          manner.






          DE410249RO


          The Commissioner also notes that the owner admitted in the PAR that 
          apartment numbers were removed and subsequently replaced and that 
          the self-closing door required repairs during the pendency of the 
          Civil Court action.

          To the extent that the rent reduction order issued by DHCR and the 
          rent abatement granted by the Housing Court reduce the tenant's 
          rent for the same period of time for identical conditions, the 
          tenant may not collect twice.  Since the reduction ordered by DHCR 
          is limited to a guideline regardless of the seriousness of the 
          condition, while the Court can order an abatement in any amount, 
          the Court's remedy takes precedence.  The Division's order, 
          however, is affirmed as a prospective rent reduction and 
          retroactively for any month not covered by the court ordered 
          abatement.

          Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the owner has offered 
          insufficient reason to disturb the Rent Administrator's 
          determination.

          The Commissioner finds, that the Administrator properly based his 
          determination on the entire record, including the results of the 
          on-site physical inspection conducted on September 23, 1987, and 
          that pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Code, the Administrator 
          was authorized to reduce the rent upon determining that the owner 
          had failed to maintain services.

          The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted 
          by the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance of this 
          order and opinion.

          Upon a restoration of services, the owner may separately apply for 
          rent restoration.

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

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

          ISSUED:
                                                                     
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner  






    

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