DJ110252RT, DJ130081RT
                                  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
          APPEALS OF                                   DOCKET NOS.:
                                                       DJ110252RT
                                                       DJ130081RT
               Robert E. Jerry and
               J. & T. Carter,
                                                       RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                       DOCKET NO.:
                                                       CL130080B
                                   PETITIONERS
          ------------------------------------x

           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On October 13, 1989, the above-named petitioner-tenants filed 
          petitions for administrative review of an order issued on September 
          19, 1989, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodations known as 88-05 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, N.Y., 
          various apartments, wherein the Administrator denied the tenants' 
          application for a reduction in rent based upon a finding that there 
          had been no reduction in services.

          The Commissioner has consolidated these two petitions as they 
          involve common questions of law and fact.

          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 appeals.

          The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly denied 
          the tenants' application for a rent reduction.

          On December 20, 1988, the tenants of 26 apartments in this 81 unit 
          building joined in filing a complaint alleging that the owner was 
          not maintaining several building-wide services.  Included in the 
          complaint was an allegation that the storage room is filled with 
          old junk and is not available for tenants' use.

          The owner filed an answer to the complaint on January 28, 1989, 
          alleging that the owner was not obligated to provide certain 
          services noted in the tenants' complaint as they were not required 
          base date services and that all other service deficiencies were 
          corrected.












          DJ110252RT, DJ130081RT


          In a notarized response to a request for additional information, 
          the tenants' representative stated that storage space is a base 
          date service and submitted a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy 
          for the subject building, dated May 27, 1959, which indicates that 
          the basement contains storage space and a copy of an order issued 
          by a District Rent Administrator on May 2, 1985 stating that "A 
          patio and storage areas subject to fire regulations are provided 
          services and the registration will be amended to reflect these 
          facts."  (Docket No. 8262)

          A DHCR inspection conducted on June 5, 1989 revealed that the 
          following services are being provided by the owner:

          1.   The recently installed elevators do not have marked or dirty 
               doors and the fans and lights are operative.
          2.   Public areas have been painted.
          3.   The exterior walls are not cracked.
          4.   There are no broken glass or dog feces in the southwest yard.
          5.   Public areas are clean and the superintendent and owner 
               identification sign is posted.
          6.   No evidence of junk in the storage room.
          7.   Pipes noted in the garage area have been sealed (basement on 
               ground).
          8.   The southwest entrance light is operative and works on a 
               timer.
          9.   No evidence of rodent infestation.
          10.  Heating season is October 1 through May 31, therefore, unable 
               to ascertain if lobby radiator is operative.
          11.  No evidence of a defective master antenna.
          12.  The boiler is adequate for the building.
          13.  No evidence of hedges removed  from the southwest yard.
          14.  The removal of sinks from the incinerator rooms is not an 
               essential service and does not warrant a relief under the 
               code.
          15.  The laundry room water closet contains a sink.

          A second inspection on August 3, 1989 revealed that the storage 
          room is kept locked, access is given by the super, only upon 
          request by the tenant, and that at the time of the inspection the 
          storage room contained primarily supplies for the building.

          Based on the inspections, the Rent Administrator issued an order 
          finding that the conditions complained of have been resolved.

          In the petition for administrative review assigned Docket No. 
          DJ130081RT, the petitioner disputes several findings of the 

          inspector and asserts that the storage room has been converted into 
          the super's office and is not available for use by the tenants.

          The other petitioner (Docket No. DJ110252RT) also claims that junk 






          DJ110252RT, DJ130081RT

          was cleared out of the storage room and the room was made into an 
          office.

          In Docket No. DJ130081RT, the petition was served on the owner on 
          January 2, 1990 and on January 8, 1990, the owner filed an answer 
          to the petition stating that the Rent Administrator did not err 
          below.

          In Docket No. DJ110252RT, the petition was served on the owner on 
          January 19, 1990 and on January 27, 1990, the owner filed an answer
          reiterating the answer noted above.

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

          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 guideline increase 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 that 
          space and those services which the owner was required to maintain 
          on the applicable base date.

          A review of the file reveals that the tenants' representative 
          submitted a copy of the Certificate of Occupancy for the subject 
          building which showed that storage space is an integral part of the 
          basement area.  A copy of the Rent Administrator's order, dated May 
          2, 1988 under Docket No. 8262, pertaining to the subject building, 
          was also submitted which stated, in part, that a patio and storage 
          area are provided services and that the building registration will 
          be amended to reflect those facts.

          An inspection, held on August 3, 1989, showed that the basement 
          storage area was locked and that access is given by the super, on 
          request. The same inspection revealed that the storage area was 
          used as a storage area for the management's purposes only.  
          Moreover, the owner has admitted in the course of these proceedings 
          that storage space is not being provided to tenants.

          Based on the above evidence, it is clear that the owner was 
          obligated to provide storage room services to the tenants but had 
          failed to do so.  
          Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that storage room service is a 
          required service and that the Rent Administrator erred by denying 
          the tenants' application for a reduction in rent.

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












          DJ110252RT, DJ130081RT


          ORDERED, that these petitions be, and the same hereby are, granted 
          and that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, 
          revoked.  The rents of the twenty-six tenants who joined in the 
          complaint (see attached list) are hereby reduced by the percentage 
          of the most recent guidelines adjustment for the tenant's lease 
          which commenced before the effective date of this rent reduction, 
          such rent reduction being effective as of February 1, 1989, the 
          first rent payment day following service of the tenants' complaint 
          on the owner.  Furthermore, no rent increase may be collected after 
          the effective date of the rent reduction, until a rent restoration 
          order has been issued.  The owner shall refund to said tenants any 
          overpayments in rent arising as a result of this order and opinion 
          within 30 days from the date of issuance hereof.

                   
          ISSUED:


                                                                     
                                             LULA M. ANDERSON
                                             Deputy Commissioner
























            
    

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