STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL
JAMAICA, NY 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.:
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On October 15, 1991, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a
petition for administrative review (PAR) of an order issued on
September 24, 1991, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the
housing accommodation known as 905 West End Avenue, New York, N.Y.,
Apt. #53, wherein the Administrator determined that a reduction in
rent was warranted based upon a reduction in services.
The Rent Administrator also directed full restoration of services.
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record and
has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the
issue raised by the administrative appeal.
The issue herein is whether the Rent Administrator properly reduced
the rent of the subject apartment.
On March 25, 1991, the tenant filed an individual tenant's
complaint alleging that the owner failed to maintain services in
the subject apartment.
The owner filed an answer to the complaint alleging that the
instant individual services complaint should be consolidated with
a prior building-wide complaint filed by most of the tenants in the
building and further that with regard to the subject complaint, the
owner is investigating the matter and will render any needed
A DHCR inspection conducted on August 23, 1991, revealed that there
is no cold-water service in the kitchen, only warm water, and that
the windows throughout the apartment were in need of caulking. The
report also confirmed that sundry services were being maintained by
On appeal, the petitioner-owner asserted, in pertinent part, that
cold water is not a rent reducing service item because this is a
sporadic condition and there are no standards requiring a certain
temperature for cold water; that window caulking services were not
being provided because new windows were in the process of being
installed throughout the building and further that it was entitled
to notice of the inspection findings before a rent reduction order
could be issued.
The petition was served on the tenant on November 19, 1991, and on
December 11, 1991, the tenant filed an answer to the petition
stating that the mixing valve replacement did not resolve his
complaint about sporadic water pressure, that an adequate supply of
cold water is a required service that is still not being provided,
and that the owner did not correct the window caulking problem.
After a careful consideration of the entire evidence of record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the administrative should be
Pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Rent Stabilization Code, a
tenant may apply to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
(DHCR) for reduction of the legal regulated rent to the level in
effect prior to the most recent guidelines adjustment, and the DHCR
shall so reduce the rent for the period for which it is found that
the owner has failed to maintain required services.
Required services are defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include
repairs and maintenance.
Concerning the petitioner-owner's argument that the Administrator
failed to give it notice of the inspection or the results, the
Commissioner finds that due process does not require that the owner
be informed that inspections are to take place or that it be sent
copies of the reports with an opportunity to rectify the condition
or to respond. The owner had adequate notice from the tenant's
complaint of conditions requiring its attention.
The Commissioner has also considered and rejects the petitioner's
claims on appeal that cold water is not a rent reducing service
item and that window-caulking services were not provided because
new windows were being installed throughout the building.
The Commissioner notes that the owner's answer filed below stated
that the owner will render any and all needed repairs. However, a
review of the record shows that this promise was not kept. The
inspector determined that cold water and window-caulking services
were not being maintained.
The absence of cold water in an apartment is a rent reducing
service item requiring the owner's immediate attention; and the
mere fact that the owner is installing new windows throughout the
building does not excuse the owner from maintaining window-caulking
services during the installation.
The Commissioner also finds that it is within the sole discretion
of the Administrator to consolidate proceedings brought before him.
In the instant proceeding the services specified in the subject
complaint were services exclusively pertaining to the individual
tenant's apartment and were separate and distinct from the services
specified in the building-wide complaint, under Docket No.
EL430059B, which affected the entire building. Accordingly,
consolidation of both proceedings is not necessary for a
determination of the issues.
Clearly, the owner has offered insufficient reason to disturb the
Rent Administrator's determination.
The Commissioner further finds that the Administrator properly
based his determination on the entire record, including the results
of the on-site physical inspection conducted on August 23, 1991,
and that pursuant to Section 2523.4(a) of the Code, the
Administrator was mandated to reduce the rent upon determining that
the owner had failed to maintain services.
The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted
by the filing of this petition is vacated upon issuance of this
order and opinion.
Upon a restoration of services the owner may separately apply for
a rent restoration.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent
Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and
that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is,
Joseph A. D'Agosta