EB 530291-RO
                                    STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  EB 530291-RO             
                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.:    
                                  PETITIONER      DC 530053-B  


          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 
          due process.

          After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative appeal 
          should be denied.

          EB 530291-RO

          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.

          EB 530291-RO

          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- 

          EB 530291-RO

          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 
          is, affirmed.


                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Acting Deputy Commissioner

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