ED110361RT, et al
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433


          ----------------------------------x
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE   ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEALS                               DOCKET NOS.:                 
                                                     
              
                                                ED110361RT  EE110303RT    
          BY VARIOUS TENANTS OF PREMISES AT:    EE110299RT  EE110305RT
                                                EE110304RT  EE110308RT
              55-25 98th Place                  EE110307RT  EE110311RT
              99-05 58th Avenue                 EE110310RT  EE110314RT      
              98-45 57th Avenue                 EE110324RT  EE110316RT
              55-30 99th Street                             EE110320RT       
                                                EE110309RT  EE110321RT   
              Corona, Queens, New York          EE110319RT  EE110325RT
                                                EE110323RT  EE110327RT
                                                EE110340RT 
                                                               
                                                EE110306RT 
                                                EE110312RT 
                                                EE110315RT 
                                                EE110317RT     
                                                EE110320RT  
                                                

                                                RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                DOCKET NOS.: DC 110009 RP    
                                                             DC 110010 RP
                                                             DC 110011 RP
                                                             DC 110012 RP
                                PETITIONERS  
          ----------------------------------x                      
          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING TENANTS' PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE 
           REVIEW TO THE EXTENT OF REOPENING RECONSIDERATION PROCEEDINGS, 
             AND REMANDING TO THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION
                                                                       
               The above-named petitioner-tenants filed identical individual 
          petitions for administrative review (PARs) against orders  issued
          April 11, 1990 by the Rent Administrat r  concerning  the  above-
          referenced housing accommodations in Corona,  Queens,  New  York,
          a/k/a Sherwood Village.

               The tenants' petitions have been consolidated for disposition 
          as they involve common issues of law and fact.  

               
               












          ED110361RT, et al

               The challenged orders, issued subsequent  to  reopening  and
          reconsideration, of proceedings under Docket  Numbers  BH110171B,
          BH110172B, BH110173B,  and  BH110174B,  amended  the  prior  rent
          reduction orders to restore rents effective January 1, 1990;  the
          rent reductions had been granted effective December 1, 1987.

               The underlying complaints of decreased building-wide services 
          were filed in August 1987.  In extensive correspondence commencing 
          November 27,  1987,  the  owner  submitted  and  updated  answers
          corresponding to each of the buildings. The owner addressed each of 
          the tenants' complaints asserting, as applicable,  that  services
          were being provided, or that the owner had remedied or  commenced
          work necessary to remedy the conditions alleged in the complaint, 
          some of which were being completed pursuant to negotiations  with
          the tenants.  The owner also argued that  the  tenants  were  not
          entitled to certain services.

               On February 10, 1989 the Administrator, after considering the 
          results of inspections  of  the  subject  premises  conducted  on
          December 19, 1988, and other evidence of record, issued the orders 
          reducing the tenants' rents, based on findings that:

                    1) The playgrounds required repairs, in that  equipment
                       was broken and missing.

                    2)  The  laundry  room  was  locked  at  the  time   of
                       inspection.

                    3) The fences around the buildings were rusted.  

               By a letter dated February 22, 1989, the owner requested  the 
          Administrator to reconsider the February 10, 1989 determinations, 
          asserting that they were erroneous, as:

                         a) No threshold determination had been made by the 
                            DHCR that playground facilities are a  required
                            service which owner must provide at any of  the
                            subject buildings.

                         b) The laundry room(s)  was  properly  locked  for
                            security reasons at the time of the  inspection
                            and each tenant has a key.

                         c) The tenants acknowledged in sign-off  documents
                            submitted to the DHCR that owner fixed the fences 
                            and  the  only  allegations  in  the   tenants'
                            complaint with respect to the fences was that of 
                            broken fences, not rusted  fences.   Owner  has
                            submitted proof to show that owner  has  indeed
                            repaired and/or replaced the fences.
               Upon  notice  from  the  Administrator  of  proceedings   to
          reconsider the previous orders, the tenants responded, as follows 






          ED110361RT, et al

          hereinbelow.

               As to the playground equipment,  the  tenants  claimed  that
          extensive playground equipment which was provided on the base date 
          had been dismantled.  The tenants also asserted that no substitute 
          recreational facilities were provided.

               Regarding the laundry room(s), the tenants contended that the 
          fact that tenants were provided key access did  not  address  the
          tenants' complaint that less equipment was provided, and that some 
          equipment was defective.

               The tenants also asserted the owner had removed  the  fences
          surrounding the buildings rather than repainting or replacing them.

               Inspections were conducted on January 23, 1990.  Based on the 
          inspections, and other  evidence  of  record,  the  Administrator
          restored the rents to the level  in  effect  prior  to  the  rent
          reductions, plus subsequent lawful increases, effective January 1, 
          1990, based on a finding that new playground equipment  had  been
          installed on or about December 15, 1989.

               The Administrator found the laundry room issue to have  been
          resolved, based on a finding that the tenants had failed to refute 
          the owner's assertion that all tenants have  key  access  to  the
          laundry room(s).

               The Administrator  also  found  that  the  inspections,  and
          invoices and bills submitted by the  owner,  confirmed  that  the
          fences had been repaired.

               In their petitions, the tenants do not deny that new equipment 
          has  been  installed.    However,   the   tenants   dispute   the
          Administrator's  determination  that  there  has  been   a   full
          restoration of services.

               The tenants contend that the playground equipment  found  on
          inspection and cited in the April 11, 1990 orders did not reflect 
          a full restoration of the equipment provided on the base date.

               With respect to the laundry room(s), the  tenants  reiterate
          that some equipment was removed and not replaced.

               As for the  fence  repairs,  the  tenants  assert  that  the
          replacement of "3-foot fencing" by  "one-foot  chains"  does  not
          represent a full restoration of services.

               
               Copies of the tenants PARs were served on the  owner  on  or
          about June 28, 1990.  The owner responded on August 20, 1990.

               The owner does not concede the threshold issue that playground 












          ED110361RT, et al

          equipment was a  required  service,  but  acknowledges  that  new
          playground equipment and  "park-like"  sitting  areas  have  been
          installed for the tenants' use.

               The owner acknowledges that base date equipment was dismantled 
          in 1977 by a previous owner, allegedly after the facilities stopped 
          being used by the tenants due to changes in the neighborhood, which 
          had caused the equipment to be dismantled as a result of repeated 
          vandalism.  The owner further asserts that similar equipment as was 
          provided on the base date has been installed in the same areas, and 
          disputes the tenants' assertion that the dismantled equipment was 
          more extensive.

               The owner also urges that the petitions be dismissed on  the
          grounds that the tenants did not articulate their  claim  of  the
          removal of the equipment for over ten years,  that  there  is  no
          evidence that the complaining  tenants  would  make  use  of  the
          equipment, and that the  tenants  raise  the  issue  of  original
          playground equipment for the first time on appeal.

               As to the laundry room equipment, the owner contends that the 
          capacity of current laundry room equipment exceeds the capacity of 
          the equipment replaced, notwithstanding that the number of machines 
          may have diminished, and points out, as below, that  the  laundry
          room equipment is provided by an independent contractor.

               As to the issue of fence repairs, the owner argues that  the
          difference in  the height of the fences is  merely  an  aesthetic
          difference that does not constitute a decrease  in  service,  and
          suggests that it does not constitute a security matter.  

               While noting that new equipment need not always be identical 
          in quantity and type to equipment previously provided, upon review, 
          the Commissioner finds that the record  below  does  not  reflect
          adequate consideration of whether new playground and laundry room 
          equipment,  and   fence   modifications,   constituted   adequate
          substitutes for equipment and services previously provided.

               



               

               

               The fact that the tenants did not previously complain  about
          the removal of playground equipment for  several  years  did  not
          jeopardize their right to raise the issue of a reduction of  base
          date services, which may be raised at  any  time.   The  tenants'
          properly raised the issue of the reduction of equipment in  their
          complaint and in other submissions below, and elaborated upon it in 






          ED110361RT, et al

          their appeals.  As a threshold question of fact , the Administrator 
          should ascertain the playground equipment provided  on  the  base
          date.

               The owner states that laundry room  services  are  currently
          provided by an independent contractor.  However the record does not 
          resolve whether laundry room services were provided under a similar 
          arrangement on  the  base  date,  or  whether  the  Administrator
          considered Section 2520.6(r)(3) of the Rent Stabilization Code in 
          arriving at his determination.

               Section 2520.6(r)(3) defines ancillary services as the space 
          and those required services not contained within  the  individual
          housing accommodations which  the  owner  was  providing  on  the
          applicable base date,  and  any  additional  space  and  services
          provided or required to be provided thereafter by applicable law. 
          Section 2520.6(r)(3)(xi) further provides, in pertinent part, that 
          an ancillary service for which there is or was a separate charge, 
          shall not be subject to the provisions of this Code where no common 
          ownership between the operator of such services  and  that  owner
          exist or existed on the applicable  base  date  or  at  any  time
          subsequent thereto, and such service is or was  provided  on  the
          applicable base date and at all times thereafter by an independent 
          contractor pursuant to a contract or agreement with the owner.

               It is not disputed that laundry room services are  provided.
          However, in light of Section 2520.6(r)(3), the question of whether 
          the new equipment constituted an adequate substitute should not be 
          considered, unless it can be established that on the base date or 
          thereafter there existed common ownership between the operator of 
          such service and the owner.

               The record also  reflects  that  fence  repairs  were  made.
          However, the record fails to reveal any consideration of  whether
          the one-foot chains  that  replaced  the  fences  constituted  an
          adequate substitute.

               The matters must therefore be remanded to the  Administrator
          for further consideration of whether the new equipment and services 
          installed and provided by the owner are adequate substitutes  for
          equipment and services previously provided.

               



               On remand, the Administrator shall consider  the  record  to
          date, and shall permit the parties to submit additional  evidence
          and to comment thereon.  If  necessary  for  a  determination,  a
          hearing may be scheduled.   Consideration  shall  be  limited  to
          playground, laundry room services and fence repair issues only, and 
          to no other matters.












          ED110361RT, et al


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

               ORDERED, that the reconsideration proceedings be reopened and 
          remanded to the Administrator to consider whether new equipment and 
          services installed  and  provided  by  the  owner  were  adequate
          substitutes for equipment and services  previously  provided,  in
          accordance with the  above.   The  Administrator's  determination
          restoring rents is not revoked, and shall remain in effect  until
          the Administrator issue new orders upon remand.



          ISSUED:                                    






                                                  ___________________ 
                                                  Joseph    A.     D'Agosta
                                                  Deputy       Commissioner
                                                 

                    
    

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