Docket No. EK 530038-R
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF
                                                 ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
            106 PINEHURST AVENUE CO.,            DOCKET NO. EK 530038-R
                                                 DISTRICT RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                 DOCKET NO. DJ 530057-B 

          On November 13, 1990, the above-named owner filed a  petition  for
          administrative review of an order issued on October 9, 1990  by  a
          District   Rent   Administrator   concerning    various    housing
          accommodations in the premises known as 106 Pinehurst Avenue,  New
          York, New York  wherein  rent  was  reduced  to  a  diminution  of

          Subsequently, and after more than ninety days had elapsed from the 
          time it filed its petition for administrative  review,  the  owner
          deemed its petition as having been  denied,  and  sought  judicial
          review in the Supreme Court of the State of New York  pursuant  to
          Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

          By court order dated September 6, 1991, the matter was remitted to 
          the rent agency for determination.

          The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence  in  the  record
          and has carefully considered that portion of the  record  relevant
          to the issues raised by the petition for review.

          On  October  18,  1989,  various  tenants  filed  a  building-wide
          application for a rent reduction based on the owner's  failure  to
          maintain certain services, to wit:  inadequate elevator  services,
          dirty elevators, defective intercoms, a front door  that  did  not
          lock securely, dirt in garbage collection areas, dirt in courtyard 
          and garden areas, vermin infestation, the lobby had broken windows 
          and radiator covers, lobby furnishings were reduced, the stairwell 
          windows were broken, rusted fire escapes, a flood in  the  laundry
          room,  inadequate  hot  water,  a  poorly  patched  sidewalk,  the
          building was not painted, and the building had no master antenna.

          On January 3, 1990, the Division of Housing and Community  Renewal
          (DHCR) received the owner's answer.   The  owner  responded  in  a
          point-by-point rebuttal of the tenants' complaint.  In  substance,
          the answer stated that no diminution of services existed.  It  was
          contended that all items in need of  repairs  had  been  repaired.
          Further, the answer alleged that all intermittent problems such as 
          broken windows and cleanliness were routinely attended to  in  the
          ordinary course of business in a  prompt  manner.   Also,  it  was
          contended  that  all  services  such  as   vermin   extermination,

          Docket No. EK 530038-R

          elevator, and laundry room facilities, were well-maintained as the 
          result of outside maintenance contracts and leases.

          On August 21, 1990, a physical inspection of the subject  premises
          was carried out by  the  DHCR.   The  inspector,  in  his  report,
          indicated seven instances of diminished  services,  to  wit:   the
          elevators  in  all  three  wings  had  levelling   deficiency   of
          approximately one and one-half (1-1/2) inches, the elevators  were
          dirty, the intercoms  were  defective,  holes  on  radiator  cover
          screens in the lobby, a missing window pane in a lobby  window,  a
          poorly patched sidewalk with cracked and broken areas, and garbage 
          scattered about the courtyard.  The  inspection  report  indicated
          no  evidence  to  support  the  twelve   other   alleged   service
          diminutions enumerated in the tenants' original complaint.

          On October 9, 1990,  the  Administrator  issued  the  order  under
          review, finding that a diminution of  services  had  occurred  and
          reducing the rent to the level in effect prior to  the  last  rent
          guideline increase which commenced before the  effective  date  of
          the order  for  the  rent-stabilized  signators  of  the  original
          complaint.  In addition the maximum  legal  rent  was  reduced  by
          $32.00 per month effective on the first rent payment day following 
          issuance date of the order for all-rent  controlled  residents  of
          the subject premises.  While listing all seven service diminutions 
          in the order, the Administrator specifically numbered only six  of
          the seven items.

          In its petition for administrative review, the owner requests that 
          the Administrator's order be reversed.  First, the  owner  alleges
          that the DHCR must provide the  owner  with  the  results  of  the
          inspector's report  and  be  given  twenty-one  days  to  respond.
          Further, it is alleged that the agency failed to comply  with  its
          policy and that upon receipt of the order the owner corrected  the
          conditions thereby demonstrating that it would have  done  so  had
          DHCR followed its own policy.  Second, the owner addresses each of 
          the six numbered service diminutions listed by  the  Administrator
          in the order.  The owner asserts that the  elevators  levelled  as
          well as they could under the conditions and  technology  available
          at the time of their installation, the elevators were cleaned on a 
          daily basis, defective intercoms were  immediately  repaired  when
          the owner was notified, only one lobby window  pane  out  of  many
          panes was broken and they are replaced  as  quickly  as  possible,
          the holes in the radiator screens were de minimis and the original 
          complaint failed to give the owner sufficient notice of  the  fact
          that both the radiator screens and covers were the item complained 
          of in the original complaints, and the poorly patched sidewalk 

          Docket No. EK 530038-R

          would have been repatched had the owner  been  notified  that  the
          inspector reported poor workmanship.

          Numerous  tenants  filed  answers  to  the  petition  for   review
          requesting  affirmation  of   the   Administrator's   order.    In
          substance, they stated that these particular service  deficiencies
          were merely part of a long pattern of unresponsiveness on the part 
          of  the  owner  in  attending  to  a  wide  variety   of   service
          deficiencies.  In addition, the  tenants  claimed,  in  substance,
          that the Administrator's order was insufficiently thorough and did 
          not  support  enough  of  the  originally  enumerated  complaints.
          Finally, the tenants also raised some new service issues in  their
          answers as well.

          Several further supplemental communications were received by  DHCR
          from  the  parties  which,  in  effect,  reiterated  the   earlier
          assertions.  Included was an owner's submission  of  an  affidavit
          from the superintendent asserting that all routine maintenance was 
          attended to promptly and well.

          On November 19, 1991, the Administrator issued  an  amended  order
          which merely put a number 7 before the service defect  of  garbage
          being scattered in the courtyard and attached a dollar  amount  to
          that deficiency for the rent-controlled  tenants  in  the  subject
          premises.  No other changes were made to the order.  The substance 
          of the order and the total dollar amounts of the  rent  reductions
          remained the same.

          In an earlier submission by the owner, it had  asserted  that  the
          courtyard area was  always  cleaned  and  well-maintained  in  the
          ordinary course of business.

          After careful consideration, the Commissioner is  of  the  opinion
          that this petition should be denied.

          The owner's allegation that DHCR policy is to notify the owner  of
          the inspector's finding and allow the  owner  twenty-one  days  to
          respond is without merit.  No such policy existed at the time  the
          Administrator's order was issued and  no  formal  policy  to  that
          effect currently exists.  In addition, there  is  no  due  process
          requirement that  the  parties  be  notified  of  the  inspector's
          findings before the Administrator's order is issued.

          The Commissioner finds that the Administrator correctly relied  on
          the inspector's report  and  correctly  reduced  the  rents.   The
          Commissioner will address each of  the  seven  enumerated  service
          diminutions individually.

          First, the elevator levelling in the subject premises was reported 
          to be one and one-half (1-1/2) inches.  This levelling  inadequacy
          creates a serious tripping hazard.  The alleged inability  of  the
          equipment to properly level is not a defense to a rent reduction.


          Docket No. EK 530038-R

          Second, the owner alleges  that  it  was  never  notified  by  the
          tenants of any intercom defects and had it  been  so  notified  it
          would have repaired the individual intercoms.  This allegation  is
          not  sufficient  to  reverse  the  Administrator's  finding.   The
          tenants' original complaint served on the  owner  gave  the  owner
          notice that the intercom was defective.  Further, the  inspector's
          report indicated that it was  determined  that  the  intercom  was
          defective by inspecting the building's intercoms from  a  position
          in the lobby.  The inspector did not enter  individual  apartments
          to inspect intercoms, and he attempted communication with  several
          different apartments from the lobby intercoms in all  three  wings
          of the subject premises.  The inspector, in his report,  indicated
          inadequacies in all three wings.  Certainly,  the  owner  knew  or
          should have known of these systemic intercom deficiencies.  

          Third, the  owner  alleges  that  had  it  been  notified  of  the
          inspector's report of poor workmanship in repatching the  sidewalk
          it would have  been  corrected.   This  allegation,  as  discussed
          above, is without merit since there is no policy  of  notification
          before the Administrator's order is issued.  Again,  the  tenants'
          original complaint gave additional notice to the  owner  that  the
          sidewalk was defective.

          Fourth, the owner alleges that  the  tenant's  original  complaint
          notified the owner only that the lobby radiator "covers"  were  in
          question and that the  owner  had  no  notice  that  the  radiator
          "screens" would be inspected as well.  The Commissioner is of  the
          opinion that the tenants'  complaint  gave  the  owner  sufficient
          notice that the entire outer protective area of the lobby radiator 
          was defective.

          Items five through seven, to wit:  garbage  in  the  courtyard,  a
          dirty elevator and a missing lobby window pane all  are  items  of
          required  services  and  maintenance.   In  these  instances   the
          Commissioner finds that the Administrator correctly relied on  the
          entire record.  This record includes multiple  assertions  by  the
          tenants that these required services are regularly defective,  and
          the results  of  the  on-site  physical  inspection  conducted  on
          August  21,  1990.    Therefore,   the   Administrator   correctly
          determined that the owner had failed to maintain these services.

          Accordingly, the Commissioner finds that there are no grounds  for
          the reversal or modification of the Administrator's amended  order
          issued on November 19, 1991.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Control Law, the  Rent  and
          Eviction Regulations, and the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,  it

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, 

          Docket No. EK 530038-R

          and that the Administrator's order be, and  the  same  hereby  is,


                                          ELLIOT SANDER
                                          Deputy Commissioner

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