STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: EB230027R0;
FLATBUSH BUILDERS, INC./
DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
DOCKET NO.: DE230084B
OWNER-PETITIONER PREMISES: 855 East 19th. St.
Brooklyn, New York
HAROLD SHARFMAN/ COURTNEY JACOBS/
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING OWNER'S PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE
REVIEW AND GRANTING TENANTS' PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
The above-named owners and tenants filed timely petitions for
administrative review of an order issued on January 23, 1990
concerning the housing accommodations relating to the above-
described docket number wherein the Administrator ordered a rent
reduction based on a finding of a decrease in services.
These petitions are consolidated because they involve common issues
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 this administrative appeal.
This proceeding was commenced on May 11, 1989 by various tenants
filing a complaint of a decrease in numerous building-wide services.
The tenants alleged that due to the inadequate exterminator
services, there is severe vermin and rodent infestation; that the
elevator cab is torn and the indicator lights broken; that the
vestibule door has been defective for 2 years; that the roof leaks
in Apt.# 6E, 6F, 6G and 6J; that the building has been filthy since
December 1987 when the porter had been removed; that the vestibule
directory should be updated; that there is graffiti throughout the
building interior; that the roof alarm is inoperative; that the
apartment repairs were not timely or professionally done; that the
lobby has holes and leaks in the ceiling; and that the interior
painting is cosmetically horrendous.
The Division transmitted to the owner on June 13, 1989 a copy of the
In an answer filed on June 30, 1989, the owner denied all the
allegations as set forth in the tenants' complaint and otherwise
asserted that all these building-wide services are being provided.
Thereafter, an on-site inspection of the subject building was
conducted on November 21, 1989 by a Division staff member who
confirmed the existence of some of the defective conditions
complained-of by the tenants.
Based on the inspection report, the Administrator determined that
the lobby, the fifth (5th) and the sixth (6th. floor) ceilings have
peeling paint; that the roof alarm is defective; and that the
following services as quoted below are maintained:
"1. There is no evidence of roach and rodent
infestation in the public areas.
2. Elevator is operating properly, and elevator
cab is not torn. Indicator lights are operative.
3. Vestibule door is not defective.
4. There is no evidence of roof being defective.
5. There is no evidence of leakage on top floor,
public hallway and stairway ceilings and walls.
6. Building is clean.
7. Vestibule directory is updated.
8. There is no graffiti throughout the interior area of
the subject premises.
9. Lobby ceilings do not have any holes."
The Administrator directed the restoration of services and ordered
the rent reduced for stabilized tenants who joined in the complaint
to the level in effect prior to the most recent guidelines
adjustment, effective July 1, 1989.
The maximum legal rent of all rent-controlled tenants on the
building was reduced by $8.00 ($4.00 for ceiling defects and $4.00
for the defective roof alarm).
The owner alleged in its petition that it had not received notice
from the tenants' complaint about peeling ceilings; that the roof
alarm was installed by the owner in September 1987 and not a
required service as indicated by a copy of a June 18, 1984 building
registration; and that both conditions (the peeling ceilings and the
roof alarm) have already been corrected.
The tenants contend in their petition that the order appealed from
should be modified to include (1) defective elevator (water
emanating into the elevator cab from the top of the elevator), (2)
defective roof (current roof leak in Apt.#6G), (3) vermin and rodent
infestation in the public areas of the building, and (4) dirty
building (no porter to clean).
The tenants assert that the Administrator's order should be amended
to include eight tenants who signed the complain but were omitted
from the order.
In answer to the tenants' petition, the owner states that the four
defective conditions raised by the tenants had already been found by
the staff inspector to be non-existent; and that the tenants never
complained of a roof leak in Apt.#6G.
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion that
the owner's petition should be denied, and the tenants' petition
should be granted in part.
The Administrator's determination was based upon a staff inspector's
report which found defective conditions within the building. The
determination was in all respects proper and is hereby sustained.
The owner's assertion that it received no notice from the tenants'
complaint about peeling ceilings is without merit. The record
establishes that the tenants' complaint alleged, among other things,
roof leaks, as well as holes in the lobby ceiling and leaks in the
lobby ceiling. The Commissioner is of the opinion that these
allegations are sufficient notice to the owners that peeling
ceilings need to be repaired.
The allegation that the defective roof alarm is not a required
service is inapplicable when the owner admitted installing this
service in September 1987. The Commissioner is of the opinion that
ancillary services, especially of this nature which promote the
security and well-being of the tenants, must be maintained once
The tenants' contention that four other conditions should be
included in the Administrator's order is without basis in the
record. These conditions were found to have been repaired and
maintained on November 21, 1989 by the Division inspector.
The tenants are correct, however, that the Administrator's order
erroneously omitted several tenants who signed the complaint. The
supplemental signature pages attached to the complaint consisted of
several pages, one for each of the six floors in the building. The
rent reduction order for stabilized tenants issued by the Adminis-
trator excludes all tenants on the sixth floor, indicating that that
signature page was overlooked. The order is, therefore, amended to
include a rent reduction equal to the most recent guidelines
adjustment which commenced before the effective date of the order
(July 1, 1989) for Apts. 6-B, 6-C, 6-D, 6-F, 6-G, 6-H, 6-J, and 6-K.
It is noted that Apt. 6-E is included in the order for rent
controlled tenants, as are Apartments 3-A and 3-J which the tenants
also claim in their petition were omitted from the order.
Inasmuch as the owner alleges in the petition that the peeling
ceilings and the roof alarm have already been corrected, this Order
and Opinion is issued without prejudice to the owners' right to file
a de novo application for rent restoration based upon the
restoration of services, if the facts so warrant.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations, it is
ORDERED, that the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the tenants' petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted in part, and that the Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby, is affirmed, as amended.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA