ED 730280-RO
                                  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
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NOS.:   
                                                  ED 730280-RO
                 BECHTOLDT  CORP.,                   RENT   ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.:
                                  PETITIONER      DL-710012-B
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW  
                     IN PART AND MODIFYING ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER

          On April 25,  1990,  the  above-named  petitioner-owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of  the  Rent
          Administrator issued March 21, 1990.  The order concerned housing 
          accommodations located at  100 Jerusalem Avenue,  Hempstead,  New
          York.  The Administrator ordered a building-wide  rent  reduction
          for failure to maintain services.

          The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully considered 
          that portion relevant to the issues raised by this administrative 
          appeal.             

          This proceeding was  commenced  on  December  18,  1989  when  84
          tenants joined in  the filing of a complaint  alleging  decreased
          building-wide services to wit:

               1.   West elevator inoperative for 10 months,
               2.   the intercom is not efficient, 
               3.   broken door lock,
               4.   heat and hot water problems and
               5.   failure of the superintendent and manager to 
                    leave an emergency number.

          Petitioner answered the complaint and alleged as follows:

               1.   A working elevator was available to all 
                    tenants and no documentation was submitted to 
                    prove that the west elevator was inoperative. 



               2.   The complaint did not specify which door lock 
                    was broken.  The doors allowing access to the 
                    building were properly maintained.

               3.   The intercom was fully functional and the com-
                    plaint was not specific about what was not 
                    "efficient".

               4.   The building has adequate heat and hot water and 







          ED 730280-RO
               there were no specific dates that heat/hot water 
                    were not provided.

               5.   The live-in superintendent's number was posted in 
                    the lobby but the installation of a telephone was 
                    delayed.

               6.   There is no obligation to post the telephone 
                    number of a manager.

          The tenants replied, stating that the tenants are entitled to two 
          working elevators, the locks on the doors are not sufficient, the 
          intercom telephone works only on certain days,  no  phone  number
          was posted for the superintendent who can only be reached through 
          the manager, and the tenants were not notified that there  was  a
          new manager.

          The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the  premises,
          which was conducted on March 8, 1990.  That  inspection  revealed
          the following:

               1.   East and West elevators inoperative.
               2.   Intercom system not working.
               3.   The lock on the building door was found to be 
                    adequate and heat and hot water services were 
                    being provided.

          The Administrator duly issued the order appealed  from,  reducing
          the rent for all tenants who joined in the complaint.

          Subsequent to  the  issuance  of  the   order  the  Administrator
          reopened the proceeding on April 4, 1990, at the owner's  request
          due to the inspector's failure to check the intercoms  for   each
          complaining tenant.  New inspections were conducted on May 10 and 
          11, 1990 solely on the issue of the intercoms.  After testing the 
          intercoms  for  72  apartments,  the   inspector   reported   the
          following:

               1.   Buzzer system not working by dialing 9 on 
                    tenants' phone.  Buzzer system not working 
                    by any system.

               2.   Various intercoms that do ring, ring in the apart-
                    ments of other tenants.

               3.   Some intercoms ring from the intercom panel but 
                    are not ringing in tenant's apartment.

               4.   Vestibule door lock, which is part of the intercom 
                    system, broken.

          On May 29,  1990,  the  Administrator  issued  an  amended  Order
          incorporating this  report,  superseding  the  prior  order,  and
          leaving unchanged the remainder of that order.  The owner did not 
          file a petition for administrative review of that amended order.

          On appeal the owner claims that the inspector  only  checked  one
          apartment intercom, as evidenced by the  reopening  of  the  pro-







          ED 730280-RO
          ceeding.  Thus, it is argued that an insufficient  basis  existed
          to issue a building-wide reduction.  Petitioner also claims  that
          the tenants did not complain about the east elevator, so the fact 
          that it malfunctioned was  not  a  proper  basis  for  issuing  a
          reduction order.  Petitioner stated that they were in the process 
          of repairing the west elevator and that the tenants did have  one
          working elevator (the east one) for all but two days.  The  owner
          also argues that the Tenant Protection Regulations do not require 
          a  rent  reduction  for  decreased  services,  only  empower  the
          Administrator  to  grant  one  in  the  exercise  of  discretion.
          Petitioner claims that, with one elevator inoperative, it was  an
          abuse of discretion to order the reduction.  Finally,  the  owner
          takes issue with  the  effective  date  of  the  reduction.   The
          Administrator ordered the reduction effective  January  1,  1990.
          The owner argues for an April 1, 1990 date, the first day of  the
          month succeeding the original inspection.

          The Commissioner has carefully considered  the  evidence  in  the
          record and is of the opinion that this petition should be granted 
          in part.

          Addressing the  owner's  arguments  seriatim,  the  Administrator
          ordered the proceeding reopened to address the ve y  claim  peti-
          tioner raises regarding the intercom  inspection.   An  extensive
          reinspection was conducted.

          The Commissioner notes that  the  petitioner  neither  sought  to
          amend its petition to take into consideration the  amendment  nor
          file a new petition to urge reversal of the amended  order.   The
          detailed report submitted by the inspector formed a proper  basis
          for the building wide rent reduction for a defective intercom  as
          specified in the amended order.


          The petitioner is correct in stating that the east  elevator  was
          not mentioned in the original complaint.  It was incumbent on the 
          tenants to specify that both elevators were malfunctioning.   The
          Commissioner  rejects,  however,   the   petitioner's   arguments
          regarding the west elevator.  The  fact  that  one  elevator  was
          working did not relieve the petitioner of the responsibility  for
          maintaining all base date  services,  including  two  functioning
          elevators for a building containing 96 apartments. Petitioner has 
          admitted  that  the  west  elevator  was  not  functioning.   The
          Administrator was correct in ordering a rent reduction  based  on
          the inoperative west elevator.

          Section 2503.4 of the Tenant Protection Regulations  states  that
          the Division may reduce the rent where it is found that the owner 
          has failed to maintain required services.

          The  inspector's  report  amply  demonstrated  a  basis  for  the
          reduction.  The Administrator clearly did  not  abuse  discretion
          in issuing the order.

          Finally, petitioner asserts that the effective date of  any  rent
          reduction can only be subsequent to  the  date  of  the  physical
          inspection establishing the existence of the defective condition. 
          A review of the record reveals that  the  Administrator  properly







          ED 730280-RO
          ordered the rent reduction to be effective January 1, 1990  which
          in accordance with established DHCR poli y  was  the  month  fol-
          lowing the service of the tenants' complaint on the owner.   Once
          the owner was served with the complaint, it was on notice of  the
          conditions alleged by the tenants to  require  repair  and  could
          take appropriate action to investigate and correct  any  defects.
          In fact, since the owner has conceded throughout this  proceeding
          that the west elevator has been inoperative for  some  time,  the
          inspector's confirmation of this fact was not  first  established
          by the inspection.

          In summation, the Administrator's order is affirmed  except  that
          part which found the east elevator as a basis for rent reduction. 
          The  petitioner  need  not  show  that  the  east   elevator   is
          operational in order to  seek  rent  restoration.   Any  problems
          regarding the east elevator must be the subject of a  new  tenant
          complaint.

                                     
          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Emergency Tenant Protection Act 
          and Tenant Protection Regulation, it is






          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby  is,  granted
          in part and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the  same
          hereby is, modified to delete the  reference  to  an  inoperative
          east elevator as a basis for the rent reduction, but in all other 
          respects the order, as amended, is affirmed. 


          ISSUED:



                                                                           
                                                ELLIOT SANDER
                                                Deputy Commissioner


                                          
    

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