Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
                                 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 NO.: EL 630037-RT 
                                            :  
             VARIOUS TENANTS,                  DRO DOCKET NO.: DH 630068-OR 

                              PETITIONER    : 
        ------------------------------------X                           
          
          ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW, 
                                     IN PART        

        On December 3, 1990,  the  above-named  petitioner-tenants  filed  a
        joint Petition for Administrative  Review  (PAR)  against  an  order
        issued on October 1, 1990, by the Rent Administrator at Gertz Plaza, 
        Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing  accommodations  known  as
        3299 Cambridge Avenue, Bronx, New York.

        In  their  petition,  the  tenants  assert  that  the  owner's  rent
        restoration application was properly denied, based on a finding that 
        there was no doorman/lobby attendant on duty, but  seek  to  reverse
        that part of the order which found that the owner  had  restored  or
        was providing other services directed under the rent reduction order 
        (BCS-000095B).

        This issue in the proceeding is whether the Administrator's  finding
        that services were restored, in part, was correct.

        The applicable law is Section 2520.6(r) of  the  Rent  Stabilization
        Code.

        The  Commissioner's  order  of  September  30,  1987  affirmed   the
        Administrator's rent reduction determination under Docket  No.  LCS-
        000095 that the owner had failed to provide the following services:

             Failure to repair top floor public hall ceiling, paint
             doors throughout building, scrape and paint garage 
             ceiling beams, repair garage window, repair ceiling
             and floor in the North entrance, repair wallpaper in 
             the public halls, plaster and paint walls in the public
             areas, repair motor driven vents on the roof, paint
             utility and incinerator rooms on the 5th, 6th, and 8th
             floors, shampoo carpeting throughout building, repair 
             playground sidewalk, repair fence post, provide fire-
             proof boiler room door, repair the peeling pipes in the 
             laundry room, repair security plate on entrance door,
             







        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT

             repair stainless steel column at main entrance door,
             repair sidewalk on northwest side of building, provide
             shrubs on northeast and northwest sides of building, 
             provide Doorman/Lobby attendant.

        In addition, the Commissioner's order modified the Administrator's 
        findings to require the owner to provide the following:

             that the garage entrance/exit ramp be repaired; that
             the tenants be provided access to the roof when same
             is requested of management or the superintendent in 
             order to ascertain whether conditions in need of
             maintenance and repair are being addressed; that the
             tenants be afforded the right to post notices in the
             existing bulletin board or to install their own 
             bulletin board; that the sidewall and stairway at 
             the entrance to the playground be repaired where
             necessary; that the main entrance vestibule and the 
             garage be waterproofed where necessary; and that
             management notify the tenants of their new address.
             The tenants further allege that these services were
             provided previously and that those conditions in 
             need of repair were confirmed upon physical 
             inspection made by the Division.

        On  October  8,  1985  the  owner  commenced  the  rent  restoration
        proceedings, which are the subject matter of the instant  appeal  by
        filing an application claiming that the following services had  been
        restored, or were in the process of being restored:

             - Top floor public hall ceiling has been repaired.

             - Doors throughout the building have been painted.

             - Garage ceiling beams have been scrapped and painted.

             - Garage window has been repaired.

             - The ceiling and floor in the north entrance has been
               repaired.

             - The wallpaper in the public halls has been repaired.

             - The walls in the public areas have been plastered and
               painted.

             - The motor driven vents on the roof have been repaired.

             - The utility and incinerator rooms on the 5th, 6th, and
               8th Floors have been painted.

             - The carpeting throughout the building has been
               shampooed.


             - The playground sidewalk has been repaired.








        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
             - The fence post has been repaired.

             - A fire proof boiler room door has been installed.

             - The pipes in the laundry room have been repaired.

             - The security plate on the entrance door has been
               repaired.

             - The stainless steel column at the main entrance door
               has been repaired.

             - The sidewalk on the northwest side of the building has
               been repaired.

             - Shrubs have been provided for the northeast and north-
               west sides of the building.

             - Doorman/lobby attendant services are being provided
               for forty (40) hours per week.

             - A uniform has been provided for the doorman.

             - The garage entrance/exit ramp has been repaired.
             
             - The tenants have been provided access to the roof.

             - The tenants have been afforded the right to post
               notices in the bulletin board.

             - The sidewall and stairway at the entrance to the
               playground has been repaired.

             - The main entrance vestibule and garage have been
               waterproofed as necessary.

             - The tenants have been notified of the management's new
               address.

        In support, the owner also submitted various letters, invoices,  and
        cancelled checks from contractors,  detailing  the  various  repairs
        completed or in the process of completion.

        An inspection was conducted on April 26, 1990 by  a  member  of  the
        Division's  inspection  staff.   The  inspector  reported  that  all
        services were restored except that the doorman was  not  present  at
        the time of inspection. 

        On May 9, 1990 several tenants, by their  representative,  submitted
        notarized affidavits in answer to and in opposition to the owner's 







        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
        application to restore rents, averring that not all of the  required
        services had  been  restored,  or  were  not  being  maintained,  as
        follows:

             that numerous doors throughout the building were either 
             not painted or merely painted on one side; that carpeting 
             on the public areas was dirty and stained and required 
             cleaning and shampooing, that the garage was not 
             waterproofed and that the garage roof leaked if there was 
             a moderate or heavy rain that the garage ramp was broken 
             and required repairs, that dead and missing shrubs needed 
             to be replaced.


        The tenants also  requested  in  writing  that  a  re-inspection  be
        conducted, and in the presence of the tenant's representative.   The
        tenants also repeated a prior request for a  hearing.   The  tenants
        submitted some documentation, notably photographs, to support  their
        assertions that repairs were not completed.

        A second inspection conducted on July 19,  1990  to  resolve  issues
        raised by tenant's objections, revealed, among other items, that the 
        stairway doors were painted one color on the public hallway side and 
        that the stairwell side remained the previous color; that  it  could
        not be ascertained if the public hall carpets had been shampooed but 
        that the stains were found by apartment 5G, 4H, 2A, the laundry room 
        and by the fourth floor stair "B" door; that the playground had  not
        been resurfaced, and that  the  elevated  sections  and  holes  were
        visible; that  the  roof  doors  had  signs  indicating  "authorized
        personnel only"; that there was a bulletin board by the laundry room 
        with "cooperators" information and evidence of a removed unit;  that
        the vestibule ceiling had areas of peeling paint  and  plaster;  and
        that there were minor water stains throughout  the  garage  ceiling.
        The remaining items were found to  be  maintained  at  the  time  of
        inspection.  

        The owner's reply of September 6, 1990 addressed the tenants' claims 
        in detail.  In essence, the owner pointed  out  that  there  was  no
        requirement that the color on both sides of the public  areas  doors
        match; that carpeting is shampooed on  a  regular  basis;  that  the
        carpet stains in front of a few  apartments  and  other  areas  were
        subsequently   removed;   that   the   owner   complied   with   the
        Administrator's rent  reduction  order  to  repair  the  playground,
        sidewalk, sidewall and stairway entrance, noting that it was also in 
        the process of also repairing the garage roof which  served  as  the
        playground, even though it was not a basis for the  rent  reduction;
        that the tenants had equal access to the building's bulletin  board,
        asserting that the owner had never provided two bulletin boards, and 
        acknowledging that a bulletin board installed by a  tenant,  without
        authorization, had been promptly removed; that the vestibule ceiling 
        paint and plaster had since  been  repaired;  and  that  the  garage
        ceiling had been repaired painted and waterproofed.









        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
        In sur-reply, the tenants characterized the owner's April  22,  1990
        response as faulty, misleading, and erroneous and inconsistent  with
        the subsequent July 19, 1990 inspection, and  argued  that  services
        were, in fact, not restored.  

        On October 31, 1990, the Administrator  issued  orders  denying  the
        owner's application as to restore rents  based  on  a  finding  that
        there was no doorman lobby attendant on duty, but otherwise  finding
        the following services to be restored or maintained.

             1.  Garage ceiling beams, windows, entrance and 
                 exit ramp.

             2.  Playground and northwest sidewalks.

             3.  Public hallway ceilings, wallpaper and carpeting
                 throughout.

             4.  Ceiling and floor of north entrance.

             5.  Vestibule ceiling, entrance door security plate
                 and stainless steel column.

             6.  Shrubs on north east and west side.

             7.  Fire proof door installed in the boiler room.

             8.  Stairway doors, utility and incinerator rooms on 
                 the 5th, 6th and 8th floor have been painted.

             9.  Fence post, roof motor driven vents and laundry 
                 room pipes.

             10. Signs are posted for roof doors and by mailboxes
                 with proper instructions.

             11. Bulletin board available to tenants.

             12. No defects on steps from West 235th Street to play-     
                 ground.

        In their petitions, the tenants reiterate  their  contentions  below
        that the enumerated services were in fact, not restored, provided or 
        maintained, and the other services for which rents were reduced were 
        not addressed in the rent restoration order.

        The owner responded, in essence, that the  services  were  restored,
        and are being maintained.

        After careful consideration the Commissioner is of the opinion  that
        the petition should be granted, in part.







        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
        With respect to the Administrator's findings below, the Commissioner 
        notes that in establishing the facts, the  Administrator  relied  on
        the several inspections  conducted  by  members  of  the  Division's
        inspection staff, and not merely on  the  parties'  representations.
        In fact, multiple inspections were conducted to resolve  outstanding
        issues.

        In addition to the inspection, the  owner  supported  its  claim  of
        restoration of services with supporting documentation, in  the  form
        of contracts, invoices and cancelled checks.

        Addressing  specific  items,  the  Commissioner  concurs  with   the
        Administrator's conclusion that there was no requirement to have the 
        hallway and stairway side of the doors the same color.   The  record
        also reflects that the tenants did not have an  unlimited  right  to
        roof access but only to ascertain  whether  conditions  in  need  of
        maintenance and  repairs  were  addressed.   Therefore  the  owner's
        restriction that access be authorized, and not  be  an  unrestricted
        right, was reasonable.  Similarly, the tenants are not entitled to a 
        separate bulletin board as long  as  the  tenants  are  offered  the
        right to post notices in the existing bulletin board.  While  it  is
        not clear from the record that the tenants  were  able  to  exercise
        this right, the owner is cautioned  not  to  refuse  access  to  the
        tenants to post notices.

        The petitioner's assertion of a denial of due  process  for  failure
        to  serve  notice  of  the  inspections  or  to  have  the  tenants'
        representative present,  or  to  serve  copies  of  the  inspections
        reports, are rejected.  The Division's procedures do not require the 
        Division to give parties notice of inspections unless their presence 
        is required by the Division, nor  to  apprise  the  parties  of  the
        results.  Moreover, the reports prepared by rent  agency  employees,
        not parties to the proceeding, and not  adversaries  to  either  the
        owner or  the  tenant,  were  properly  placed  in  the  record  for
        consideration  by  the  Administrator,   and   were,   entitled   to
        substantial weight, in excess of either the tenants' or the  owner's
        self-serving  allegations.   Moreover  it  is  for  the  agency   to
        ascertain, based on inspections and other documentation, whether and 
        what services are provided or maintained.

        With regard to the issues of whether  a  hearing  was  essential  in
        order to reach a determination, or that the tenants were  prejudiced
        by the alleged lack of opportunity to address  all  of  the  owner's
        submissions, the Commissioner  notes  that  the  Rent  Stabilization
        Code, does not require the Administrator to hold a hearing.  In  the
        absence of such a mandate, all the  due  process  requires  is  that
        reasonable notice be afforded to the parties to the proceedings  and
        that they have an opportunity  to  present  their  objections.   The
        record indicates that the petitioner-tenants had  ample  opportunity
        below and at PAR to present their  objections.   Since  the  tenants
        did, in fact, submit substantial material in their objecting  papers
        addressing the owner's claims, they cannot successfully  claim  that
        they were denied due process. 








        Docket Number: EL 630037-RT
        As to carpet stains, peeling paint  and  plaster  in  the  vestibule
        areas, and water stains throughout the garage ceiling noted  in  the
        July 19, 1990 inspection report, 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 vs DHCR, 140 AD 2d 351, 527 NYS 2d 841, (AD 2nd Dept), Affd, 
        73 NY 2d 998, 541 NYS 2nd 345 (Ct Appeals 1989).  As rent  reduction
        are already in effect  no  further  rent  reductions  are  mandated.
        However, the Administrator's orders are modified  to  reflect  these
        conditions as additional bases for rent reductions,  which  must  be
        addressed before rent  restorations  may  be  granted,  upon  proper
        application to the Administrator.

        THEREFORE, in accordance with the applicable provision of  the  Rent
        Stabilization Law and Code, the Emergency Tenant Protection  Act  of
        1974, Chapter 403 of the Laws of 1983, as amended  by  Chapter  102,
        Laws of 1984, Operational Bulletin 84-1, it is

        ORDERED, that this petition be, and the  same  hereby  is,  granted,
        and the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby,  modified  to
        reflect additional conditions to be corrected, if not  already  done
        so, in order to be eligible for  rent  restorations,  in  accordance
        with the above.

        ISSUED:




                                                                      
                                        ELLIOT SANDER
                                        Deputy Commissioner




                                                   
    

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