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.:
DAVID EISENSTEIN REAL ESTATE,
PETITIONER DC 530053-B
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On February 20, 1990, the above-named petitioner-owner filed an
Administrative Appeal against an order issued on January 17, 1990,
by the Rent Administrator, 92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica,
New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 385 Fort
Washington Avenue, New York, New York, Various Apartments.
The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly reduced
the rents of various rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments
in the subject building.
The Rent Administrator's order, appealed herein, determined that
the rent for rent stabilized apartments should be reduced to the
level in effect prior to the last rent guideline increase which
commenced before the effective date of the order based upon a
diminution of services and further determined that the maximum
legal rent for rent controlled apartments should be reduced by
$13.00 per month based upon a diminution of services. The Rent
Administrator's order was based upon inspections held on October
25, 1989 and November 15, 1989.
On appeal, the petitioner-owner asserts inter alia, that the Rent
Administrator erred by reducing the rent based upon an inoperative
top door lock because the tenants did not complain of this condi-
tion; that extermination services are provided monthly; that the
sixth floor public area walls and ceilings were painted six months
before the inspection and that the failure of the Rent Adminis-
trator to provide it with inspection results constitute a denial of
After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative appeal
should be denied.
The tenants executed a Statement of Complaint of a Decrease in
Building-Wide Services on March 16, 1989 and on April 12, 1989, the
Rent Administrator mailed a Notice and Transmittal of Tenants'
Complaint to the owner.
The owner interposed an answer on May 3, 1989, essentially denying
the tenants' allegations.
Although inspections conducted by the Rent Administrator showed
that the owner had restored nine services noted in the tenants'
complaint; it also revealed the following:
1. There is roach and rodent infestation in the
2. Door that leads to alleyway has a top lock
which is inoperative.
3. Sixth (6) floor public area and walls and
ceiling have peeling paint and plaster. Roof
walls and ceiling have mildew. Owner is to
cure the cause of mildew accumulation.
The owner's claim on appeal that the tenants did not complain about
a deficient top door lock has been considered and the Commissioner
finds this argument to be without merit.
A review of the file reveals that the tenants included with the
complaint a letter originally sent to the Code Enforcement Office
listing various defects including the following:
"the door which leads from the alleyway is not
a secured door. The door which leads out of
the building into the central courtyard is
neither fire proof or secured."
Although the owner objected to this document as being fraudulent
because it is dated April 1987 and bears the name of a tenant who
no longer resides in the building, the Commissioner finds that it
is a valid addendum to the complaint since it is signed by the same
tenant who signed the complaint form and is redated March 16, 1989.
The Commissioner finds, therefore, that this constitutes adequate
notice to the owner of a deficient top door lock.
Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations provides that
an owner's failure to maintain services may result in an order of
decrease in maximum rent, in an amount determined by the discretion
of the Rent Administrator.
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 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 services.
Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include re-
pairs and maintenance.
Nearly nine months had elapsed from the time a copy of the tenant's
complaint was mailed to the owner; to the time the Rent Adminis-
trator's order was issued, on January 17, 1990.
The record before the Commissioner clearly shows that the owner has
not submitted any evidence that the deficiencies noted on the
inspectors' reports were completed in a workmanlike manner at the
time of the DHCR's inspections or at any time prior to the issuance
of the Administrator's order.
While the owner may indeed provide exterminator and public area
painting and plastering services as it alleges, nonetheless, the
efficacy of said services were found to be deficient as evidenced
by the inspection findings. The deficient exterminator and public
area painting and plastering services, therefore, constitute a
diminution of service.
Concerning the petitioner-owner's arguments that the Administrator
failed to give it notice of the inspections or the results, the
Commissioner finds that due process does not require that the owner
be informed that inspections are to take place or that it be sent
copies of the reports, with an opportunity to rectify the condition
or to respond. The owner had adequate notice from the tenants'
complaints of conditions requiring its attention.
The Commissioner finds that the Administrator properly based his
determination on the entire record, including the results of the
on-site physical inspections conducted on October 25, 1989 and
November 15, 1989 and that pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the
Code and Section 2203.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations the
Administrator was mandated to reduce the rent upon determining that
the owner had failed to maintain services.
Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that the owner has offered
insufficient reason to disturb the Rent Administrator's
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent and Evic-
tion Regulations for New York City and the Rent Stabilization Law
and Code, it is,
ORDERED, that the owner's petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
Acting Deputy Commissioner