EH130350RO
                                  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


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          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE   ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                             DOCKET NO.: EH130350RO 
                                                  
                                                RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                DOCKET NO.: DF130098B       
            MONTE CARLO LEASING COMPANY,                                     
           
                                                                         
                                 PETITIONER  
          ----------------------------------x                      
                                                                       

             ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW 
                   AND AFFIRMING RENT REDUCTION ORDER, AS MODIFIED

               On August 31, 1990, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          petition for administrative review (PAR) of an  order  issued  on
          August 1, 1990, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodation known as 631 Beach 9th  Street,  Queens,  New  York
          wherein the Administrator determined the tenants' complaint of  a
          reduction of several building-wide services, filed in June 1989.

               The challenged order reduced the tenants' rents based on the 
          results of an inspection conducted on June 13, 1990 that found that 
          the elevator did not  level  properly  on  several  floors.   The
          inspector also found that the owner had failed to replace a missing 
          doorknob on a stairwell door, and  that  several  doorknobs  were
          loose.

               Prior inspections on March  19,  1990  and  April  25,  1990
          established that other complaints  were  unfounded  or  that  the
          conditions had been addressed.

               On appeal, the owner objects to the DHCR's processing of the 
          tenants' elevator complaint, asserting that  the  elevator  issue
          should have been adjudicated  by  the  New  York  City  Buildings
          Department.  The owner also asserts that the doorknob  conditions
          constituted items of routine maintenance rather than a failure to 
          maintain services.

               Copies of the owner's administrative appeal were served on the 
          tenants on October 2, 1990.  

               













          EH130350RO


               
               The Commissioner notes in the first instance that the DHCR has 
          the requisite authority to  process  the  tenants'  complaint  of
          elevator  service  decreases.   Section  2523.4   of   the   Rent
          Stabilization Code states that a tenant may apply to the DHCR for 
          a rent reduction and "the DHCR shall so reduce the rent  for  the
          period for which it is found that the owner has failed to maintain 
          services."  Section 2520.6(r) of the Code defines required services 
          to include repairs, decorating, maintenance and elevator services, 
          among other items.

               It is noted that on two (2) of the three (3) occasions  that
          DHCR staff inspections visited the subject building the  elevator
          was operational, albeit not levelling properly.  Elevator repairs 
          were being conducted for broken elevator doors at the time of the 
          first inspection on March 19, 1990.

               New York City Department of Buildings violation reports were 
          obtained in  conjunction  with  the  instant  appeal.   The  City
          Department  of  Buildings  has   long-established   comprehensive
          procedures, and inspection programs in place, and the City  staff
          engaged in carrying out these programs  also  has  the  necessary
          technical expertise to conduct periodic inspections, to interpret 
          and apply relevant codes regulations and industry standards; and to 
          issue violations.  Furthermore, in view  of  the  City's  greater
          experience with elevator enforcement, the City  is  in  a  better
          position than  the  DHCR  to  determine  appropriate  performance
          standards and ancillary equipment for elevators of varying age and 
          manufacture.

               The only City elevator inspection between the time the  com-
          plaint was filed in June 1989 and the date of the Administrator's 
          order, August 1, 1990, was conducted on September 20,  1989,  and
          revealed no elevator violations. The Commissioner finds, therefore, 
          that the Administrator's finding below, that the elevator failed to 
          level properly, was not sufficient to support a determination  of
          decreased elevator service, and should be revoked as a  predicate
          for rent reductions.

               However, the Commissioner rejects the owner's argument  that
          the determination concerning doorknobs is arbitrary, capricious and 
          contrary to law, in that the item constitutes  ordinary  everyday
          maintenance.

               




               







          EH130350RO



               Loose and/or missing  doorknobs,  particularly  those  of  a
          stairwell door, can, in some circumstances, constitute a hazardous 
          condition.  In addition, notice of these problems, was given to the 
          owner by service of the tenant's  complaint  on  July  19,  1989.
          However, an inspection in June 1990  found  that  the  conditions
          persisted.  The owner's apparent failure to conduct what amounted 
          to minor repair work and routine  maintenance  over  an  extended
          period of time further justified a rent reduction for this item.

               The Commissioner also rejects the owner's argument that rent 
          reductions were not  warranted  as  several  "substantially  more
          consequential [service] items were found to be maintained" and that 
          only "a few loose door knobs out of several hundred" were  found.
          The Courts have held that once the  Division  determines  that  a
          diminution in required services has occurred, the  Division  must
          order a rent reduction.  Hyde Park Gardens v. DHCR, 140 A.D.2d 351, 
          527 N.Y.S. 2d 841.(A.D. 2nd Dept.),  affd,  73  N.Y.2d  998,  541
          N.Y.S.2d 345 (Ct.App 1989).

               For rent stabilized tenants, rent reductions are imposed for 
          any service decrease.  Therefore, the rent abatements granted per 
          the Administrator's order are affirmed. 

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

               ORDERED, that the owner's petition be denied  and  that  the
          Administrator's order be affirmed,  as  modified  to  delete  the
          elevator's failure to level as a predicate for  rent  reductions.
             


          ISSUED:



                                                  ___________________ 
                                                  Joseph    A.     D'Agosta
                                                  Deputy       Commissioner
                                                 

                    






    

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