Docket Number: EA-110011-RO
                                 STATE OF NEW YORK
                           OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

        ------------------------------------X  S.J.R. No. 5538
        APPEAL  OF                               DOCKET  NO.  EA   110011-RO
                                               DOCKET   NO.   DH    110511-S
                              PETITIONER    : 

        On January 5, 1990, the  above-named  owner  filed  a  petition  for
        administrative review of an order issued on December 18, 1989  by  a
        District Rent Administrator concerning  the  housing  accommodations
        known as Apartment 1E, 102-30 Queens Boulevard,  Forest  Hills,  New
        York, wherein rent was reduced due to diminution of service.  

        Subsequently, and after more than ninety days had elapsed  from  the
        time it filed its petition  for  administrative  review,  the  owner
        deemed its petition as  having  been  denied,  and  sought  judicial
        review in the Supreme Court of the State of  New  York  pursuant  to
        Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

        After considering the Article-78 petition, the Court issued an order 
        remitting the proceeding to the New York State Division  of  Housing
        and Community Renewal for further consideration.

        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 for review.

        On August 19, 1989, the subject tenant filed an  application  for  a
        rent reduction based on the  owner's  failure  to  maintain  certain
        services, to wit: the oven had rusty racks, the refrigerator  needed
        a new gasket, cracked walls in  living  room  and  kitchen,  no  air
        conditioner service was provided, mailbox needed a new  lock,  roach
        infestation, bathtub and sink needed new porcelain, new windows slid 
        on top, peeling and a leak in the bedroom ceiling and window, and  a
        defective electrical outlet in the living room.

        On September 18, 1989, the owner filed an answer  contending,  among
        other things, that  it  had  always  attended  to  service  problems
        promptly but that  this  particular  tenant  denied  access  to  the
        subject apartment to the superintendent.

        On December 5, 1989, a physical inspection of the subject  apartment
        was carried out by the Division of  Housing  and  Community  Renewal
        (DHCR).  The inspector, in his report, indicated that the oven racks 
        were rusted, the refrigerator gasket was soft, the ceiling and walls 
        in the living room were cracked, the bathtub and sink were  in  need
        of reglazing,  bedroom  walls  were  stained  and  needed  painting,
        windows throughout the apartment needed painting, there was evidence 

          Docket Number: EA-110011-RO
        of a leak in the bedroom, and the right wall  electrical  outlet  in
        the living room was not working.

        On December 18, 1989, the District  Rent  Administrator  issued  the
        order here under review, finding that a diminution in  services  had
        occurred and reducing the rent to the level in effect prior  to  the
        last rent guideline increase which commenced  before  the  effective
        date of the order.

        In  its  petition  for  administrative  review  the  owner  requests
        reversal of the Administrator's order repeating  its  allegation  of
        denial of access to the superintendent.  The owner  includes  copies
        of letters to the tenant to document its allegations.

        This petition for  review  triggered  an  exchange  of  supplemental
        pleadings from both  parties.   The  tenant  acknowledges  that  she
        refuses access to  the  subject  apartment  to  the  superintendent.
        However, she claims that such  denial  is  reasonable.   The  tenant
        states that on a prior occasion she had been physically and verbally 
        threatened  by  the  superintendent.   A  notarized  letter  from  a
        neighbor-witness is  submitted  verifying  the  occurrence  of  this
        incident.  The tenant further states that a complaint was filed with 
        the police and she is and would be willing to allow  access  to  any
        agent of the owner except this particular superintendent.   Included
        is a statement from a window repairman who  was  granted  access  by
        the tenant, corroborating the tenant's  assertion  that  she  allows
        access  to  anyone  to  make  repairs  with  the  exception  of  the
        particular superintendent.

        The owner's supplemental pleadings acknowledge that an incident took 
        place between the superintendent and the tenant but  state  that  it
        wished not to get involved.   Further,  the  owner  states  that  it
        cannot set a precedent of contracting for outside help at the demand 
        of the tenant when the work required is an  ordinary  superintendent
        function.  Finally, the  owner  acknowledges  that  the  tenant  had
        permitted access to the subject  apartment  to  an  air  conditioner

        After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion that 
        the petition should be denied.

        Pursuant to Section 2523.4 (a) of the Rent Stabilization Code:

                  A tenant may apply to the DHCR for a 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


          Docket Number: EA-110011-RO
        Required services  are  defined  in  Section  2520.6(r)  to  include
        repairs and maintenance.
        It is acknowledged by both parties that the subject apartment was in 
        need of repairs and maintenance.  It is also acknowledged  that  the
        superintendent was denied access to the subject apartment.  Clearly, 
        the owner has a continuing duty to maintain required  services,  and
        access to the premises is mandatory for the owner  to  fulfill  this
        obligation.  However, there are situations  where  the  Commissioner
        may determine that the tenant's denial of access is reasonable.

        In  this  case,  the  record   indicates   that   the   tenant   and
        superintendent engaged  in  a  serious  confrontation  which  almost
        resulted in physical contact.  The uncontested  evidence,  including
        the  neighbor's   letter,   supports   the   conclusion   that   the
        confrontation   was   initiated   by   the   superintendent.     The
        superintendent is an  agent  of  the  owner.   Despite  the  owner's
        contention, it cannot avoid "involvement."  The Commissioner  is  of
        the opinion that under the extraordinary  circumstances  present  in
        this case, the tenant's denial of access to the  superintendent  was
        reasonable.  The owner, accordingly, was obligated to  have  another
        of its repair persons make the required repairs.

        Further, the record indicates that the tenant's statement  that  she
        would permit access to the subject apartment to repair persons other 
        than  this  particular  superintendent  is  creditable.   Both   the
        statement of the window repairman and the acknowledged access to the 
        air conditioner repairman support this assertion.

        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 December  5,  1989,  and  that
        pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the  Code,  the  administrator  was
        mandated to reduce the rent upon  determining  that  the  owner  had
        failed to maintain services.

        This order and opinion is issued without prejudice  to  the  owner's
        rights as they may pertain to an application to the Division  for  a
        restoration of rent based upon the restoration of services.

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

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


                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner

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