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
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: DL110249RO
Northern Star Realty,
DOCKET NO.: CI110414S
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative
review of an order issued on November 1, 1989, concerning the
housing accommodations known as 147-25 Northern Boulevard,
Apartment 3S, Queens, New York, wherein the Rent Administrator
determined the tenant's complaint of decreased 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.
The tenant commenced this proceeding by filing a complaint
asserting that the owner had failed to maintain certain services in
the subject apartment. The complaint was served on the owner on
October 6, 1988.
In an answer dated October 7, 1988, the owner asserts that the
complaint served by the DHCR was the first notice the owner had of
the conditions and advised that he was prepared to correct the
An inspection of the subject apartment was conducted on October 19,
1989. The inspector reported that the apartment required painting,
that a bathroom window was hard to close, that the cabinet under
the kitchen sink was damp but not rotted, that the kitchen wall
over the sink had minor cracks, and that bathroom wall tiles were
loose, broken or missing. Other complaints were not substantiated.
The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services and
further, ordered a reduction of the stabilization rent.
In its petition for administrative review, the owner states, in
substance, that the window, kitchen wall and bathroom tile
conditions were minor items not warranting a rent reduction. In
addition the owner suggests that the defective tiles and dampness
under the kitchen sink were tenant induced conditions, and that the
mere fact of dampness under the kitchen sink, without specifying a
source, did not establish a services decrease. A copy of the
owner's administrative appeal was served on the tenant.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the petition should be granted, in part, as more fully set
The Commissioner concurs that the finding of dampness in the
cabinet under the sink does not constitute a services decrease
absent e.g., additional facts to establish the cause for the
dampness, defective plumbing, or that the kitchen sink area had
been damaged. It is noted that the inspector did not confirm the
tenant's complaint that the sink cabinet was rotted.
However, the owner does not establish any other basis for modifying
or revoking the Rent Administrator's order which determined that
the owner was not maintaining required services based on a physical
inspection confirming the existence of defective conditions in the
subject apartment for which a rent reduction is warranted.
The Commissioner rejects the owner's argument that the complaints
were minor. Rent reductions are normally granted by the DHCR for
the conditions confirmed below, and have been affirmed by the
Courts: Hyde Park Gardens v. DHCR, 140 A.D.2d 351, 527 N.Y.S.2d
841 (2nd Dept. 1988), affd. 73 N.Y.2d 998, 541 N.Y.S.2d 345 (1989).
An examination of DHCR records also reveals that the Rent
Administrator issued an order on October 14, 1993, under GC110235OR
restoring the tenant's rent to the pre-reduction level plus lawful
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.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted, in
part to the extent of revoking the dampness under the kitchen sink
as a predicate for the rent reduction. In all other respects, the
Rent Administrator's order is affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA