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.: EF530039RO
INWOOD MANSIONS RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On June 14, 1990 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued May 10, 1990. The order concerned various
housing accommodations located at 121 Seaman Ave., New York, N.Y.
The Administrator directed restoration of services and further
ordered a reduction of the stabilized and maximum legal rents.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this
This proceeding was commenced on November 5, 1988 when 26 of
the 41 building tenants filed a Statement of Complaint of Decrease
in Building-Wide Services wherein they alleged the following
1. Heat and hot water problems; boiler not
2. Incinerator inoperative for several months,
3. Garbage not disposed of,
4. Lack of emergency exit from basement,
5. Elevator breaks down on regular basis,
6. Plumbing problems,
7. Broken outer front door,
8. Lack of response to repair requests,
9. Lack of superintendent.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on January 3,
1989 and stated that:
1. This complaint is a duplicate of one pending with
2. The complaint is procedurally defective,
3. The complaint was filed to attempt to prevent the
owner from converting the building to cooperative
4. Heat and hot water are provided in accordance with
5. The incinerator has been repaired,
6. Elevator problems are the result of vandalism;
elevator has been repaired,
7. Front door has been repaired.
The owner attached certain contracts and paid bills as proof that
repairs had been made.
On April 12, 1989 the owner's attorney submitted a letter
wherein he stated that the pending proceeding described in the
owner's response had been denied by DHCR in an order issued April
6, 1989 (see Docket No. CK530101HW).
The Administrator ordered a physical inspections of the
subject building. An inspection was conducted on May 22, 1989.
The building was reinspected on November 27, 1989 and March 22,
1990. The inspector reported the following:
1. Laundry room is not clean,
2. Entrance door difficult to open and close,
3. Trash collection and storage services inadequate;
trash storage area in courtyard has excessive
accumulation of garbage bags; insufficient number
of trash bags provided; area is in unsanitary
The following services were found to have been maintained:
1. No evidence of garbage accumulation in basement,
2. Basement emergency exit unobstructed,
3. Elevator operative,
4. Public hallways and stairways clean.
The Administrator issued the order here under review on May
10, 1990. In addition to setting out the inspector's report, the
Administrator noted that the evidence of record indicated that
incinerator service was not being maintained on a regular basis.
The Administrator further stated that the owner had failed to
refute the tenant's allegation that the superintendent does not
dispose of garbage in a timely manner, and that apartment level
trash collection service is not maintained. The Administrator
directed the owner to maintain regular incinerator and apartment
level trash disposal services. The Administrator also advised the
tenants to file individual complaints in regard to apartment issues
and directed the tenants to file complaints regarding the
superintendent with the Office of Code Enforcement of New York
The Administrator ordered a rent reduction of $16.00 per month
for rent controlled tenants and an amount equal to the most recent
guideline adjustment for rent stabilized tenants. The rent
reduction for rent controlled tenants was ordered effective June 1,
1990 and the rent reduction for rent stabilized tenants was ordered
effective January 1, 1989.
On appeal the owner states that:
1. The unclean laundry room and inadequate trash
collection and storage services are recurring
conditions which do not warrant a rent reduction
especially in light of the inspector's report of
clean basement, hallways and stairways,
2. The entrance door is not a service reduction since
a person of ordinary strength could open said door
and a new door closer was installed prior to the
filing of the tenants' complaint. The owner also
states that the problem with the door is a "minor
3. It is unclear if the Administrator's direction to
the owner to maintain incinerator and trash
disposal services formed a basis for a rent
reduction. If so, this was based on something
other than the inspector's report. The owner
states that the incinerator has worked well since
the time the complaint was filed. The owner further
states that it successfully refuted claims that the
superintendent was not collecting trash and
disposing of garbage in a timely manner.
The tenants' representative filed a response on July 30, 1990
wherein he stated, in substance, that the order here under review
should be affirmed and that the rent reduction should be ordered
effective November 5, 1988.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
With regard to the issue of the dirty laundry room, the
Commissioner rejects the owner's argument that this is a "recurring
condition" which does not warrant a rent reduction. The tenants
complained about a lack of superintendent services and the
inspector's report of a dirty laundry room confirmed the failure to
maintain the public areas in a clean condition on an ongoing basis.
The fact that the inspector found that other public areas of the
building are properly cleaned does not establish that a rent
reduction for the condition of the laundry room is not warranted.
With regard to the entrance door, the Commissioner rejects the
owner's argument that the condition is minor. A properly
functioning entrance door is a service to which all tenants are
entitled and the inspector corroborated the tenants' complaint that
the door was difficult to open and close.
Finally, with regard to the issue of building trash collection
the inspection confirmed the complaint of lack of garbage disposal
and unsanitary conditions. The basis for the rent reduction was
clearly stated as unsanitary conditions, inadequate garbage
receptacles and an accumulation of garbage bags in the courtyard
and garbage storage areas. The Commissioner notes that the owner
subsequently corrected these conditions as confirmed by a physical
inspection conducted in a rent restoration proceeding (FE530241OR).
Since the incinerator was found to be inoperative on November 27,
1989 but operative on March 22, 1990, the rents were not reduced
for failure to provide incinerator service but the owner was
directed to continue to maintain regular incinerator service.
The Commissioner notes that pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the
Rent Stabilization Code, tenants may apply to the DHCR for a rent
reduction and the rent shall be reduced based on a finding that the
owner has failed to maintain required services. Section 2202.16 of
the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorizes a rent reduction for
rent controlled tenants based on a finding of failure to maintain
essential services. Repairs, maintenance, janitorial services and
removal of refuse are included in the statutory definition of
required and essential services. The Commissioner finds that the
Administrator based this determination on the entire record
including the results of the physical inspections described above.
The order here under review is affirmed. The automatic stay of the
retroactive rent abatement for rent stabilized tenants that
resulted by the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance of
this order and opinion.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code and
Rent and Eviction Regulations it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA