STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NY 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEALS OF DOCKET NOS.:
Robert E. Jerry and
J. & T. Carter,
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
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
8. The southwest entrance light is operative and works on a
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
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
was cleared out of the storage room and the room was made into an
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
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 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
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.
LULA M. ANDERSON