DE430234RO
                                  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.: DE430234RO

                    Charles Greenthal
                    Management Corp.,
                                                       RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                       DOCKET NO.: CG430025B
                                   PETITIONER
          ------------------------------------x

           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW,
                       AND REVOKING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER

          The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative 
          review of an order issued on April 24, 1989, concerning the housing 
          accommodations known as 412 East 55th Street, New York, New York, 
          wherein the Rent Administrator determined the tenants' complaint of 
          decreased building-wide 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 petition.

          Various tenants commenced this proceeding by filing a complaint 
          asserting that the owner had failed to maintain certain services in 
          the subject premises.

          In an answer, the owner denied the allegations set forth in the 
          complaint or otherwise asserted that all required repairs had been 
          or will be completed.

          Thereafter, the DHCR conducted inspections of the subject premises.  
          The DHCR found that the number/letter designations on apartment 
          doors had been replaced with letter only designations, that a new 
          garage entrance door did not have a pedestrian passageway insert 
          door, and that the elevator indicator light on the eleventh floor 
          was not working.  The Rent Administrator directed the owner to 
          restore these items and granted a building-wide rent reduction.


          The Rent Administrator also determined that janitorial, vermin 
          extermination, hallway painting and carpeting, heat, and other 












          DE430234RO

          services were maintained, repaired or restored.

          In this petition for administrative review, the owner argues that 
          the conditions did not support a rent reduction, and characterizes 
          the conditions as de minimis as they were merely inconveniences 
          rather than decreased services.  The owner also argues that 
          complaints regarding floor numbers, elevator indicators and 
          building security were litigated in City Housing Court proceedings 
          with respect to one tenant and were dismissed albeit the tenant 
          received a rent abatement on other grounds.  The owner urges that 
          these findings be given res judicata effect and that all tenants be 
          collaterally estopped from pursuing their claims.

          The Commissioner concurs that the conditions found were not 
          conditions constituting services decreases, and that, therefore, 
          the petition should be granted and the Rent Administrator's order 
          revoked, as more fully set forth below.

          The tenants complained that elevator indicators on most floors did 
          not work.  The inspector found that the elevator indicator on the 
          eleventh floor was not working.  An inspection conducted two (2) 
          weeks thereafter found no elevator defects.  There is no evidence 
          that indicator lights in the elevators displaying the respective 
          floor on which the elevator stopped were not operating.  There is 
          also no evidence in the record of interruption, interference or 
          problems with elevator service to the floors, including the 
          eleventh, at the time of inspection.

          While inoperative elevator indicators may be a basis for a rent 
          reduction, the evidence herein indicates, that the condition at the 
          time of inspection was isolated to one location, that the 
          allegation of numerous elevator defects was not confirmed, and that 
          no elevator defects were found shortly thereafter.  The condition 
          reported was isolated, which appears to have been corrected in the 
          course of normal maintenance, rather than being a decrease in 
          elevator service sufficient to warrant a rent reduction.

          Similarly, no service was diminished by the fact that 
          numerical/letter markings on the tenants' doors were replaced by 
          letter identification only.  Incidentally, the City Housing 
          Maintenance Code (Section 27-2048) requires only that the owner 
          provide a sign on each floor stating the number of the floor.  
          There is no evidence in the record that the owner was in violation 
          of the City Code.  Also, there was no evidence presented that 
          confusion or problems ensued therefrom to residents, guests and 
          invitees.


          With regard to the installation of a new garage entrance door 
          without a pedestrian passageway insert door previously provided, 
          the Commissioner is of the opinion that there was no reduction of 
          garage services to tenants who availed themselves of the 






          DE430234RO

          facilities, or that the tenants were deprived of pedestrian access 
          between the garage and the building or the garage and the street.  
          Nor does the record establish that building security was 
          diminished.

          In the petition, the owner also requests that the tenants be 
          collaterally estopped from seeking relief based on the City Housing 
          Court's findings that dismissed the complaints of one tenant 
          regarding the conditions. The Commissioner notes that different 
          standards apply to ascertain whether the tenants are entitled to a 
          rent reduction under the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, and 
          whether a rent abatement is warranted based on issues normally 
          before the Court, such as whether there has been a violation of the 
          warranty of habitability, albeit the underlying facts may be 
          similar.  Therefore, the Commissioner finds that collateral 
          estoppel is not appropriate. 

          In answer to the petition, various tenants assert that other 
          conditions alleged below, but not confirmed by the DHCR on 
          inspection, still exist or have recurred.  An answer to the owner's 
          administrative appeal reiterating the allegations of the complaint 
          is not the proper vehicle to challenge the Rent Administrator's 
          finding that the services were, in fact, provided.  Since the 
          tenants failed to file a proper administrative appeal, these 
          matters cannot be considered herein.

          For the reasons set forth above, the rent reduction granted to the 
          tenants must be revoked.  Any accrued rent arrears due the owner 
          from each tenant as a result of this order may be paid by the 
          tenant in equal monthly installments at the amount of the monthly 
          rent reduction previously granted, but revoked herein, until the 
          tenant's arrears are eliminated.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted, 
          and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, 
          revoked, in accordance with the above.            

          ISSUED:


                                                                     
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner  






    

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