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.: FL520261RO
VICKERS MANAGEMENT CORP. RENT
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
IN PART AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER
On November 27, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued November 22, 1991. The order concerned housing
accommodations known as Apt. 42 located at 640 West 139th Street,
New York, N.Y. The Administrator directed restoration of services
and ordered a rent reduction based on the owner's failure to
maintain essential services.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this
The tenant commenced this proceeding on August 14, 1991 by
filing a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services wherein he
alleged that the owner was not maintaining certain essential
services within the meaning of the Rent and Eviction Regulations.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on September
30, 1991 and stated, in sum, that it had made the required repairs
or that the cited conditions did not warrant a rent reduction.
The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject
apartment. The inspection was conducted on October 31, 1991 and
revealed the following:
1. Kitchen walls are water stained, blistered and have
2. Kitchen floor sloping, torn and stained,
3. Bathroom ceiling plastered but not painted,
4. First bedroom walls discolored,
5. Living room walls blistered, water stained and
6. Living room floor covering around radiator is
rotted with gaps and holes,
7. Living room ceiling blistered and rough surfaces.
The inspector reported that the other services complained of were
The Administrator issued the order here under review on
November 11, 1991 and ordered a $35.00 per month rent reduction
based on the inspector's report.
On appeal the owner states that repairs had been made
to the affected areas, that the tenant refused to sign a work order
acknowledging that the owner had made repairs, that the owner was
not afforded an opportunity to respond to the complaint after the
initial notice and that the Administrator ordered a rent reduction
for conditions which were already the subject of a rent reduction
ordered in Docket No. BK520582S and which remained in effect. The
owner attached copies of invoices and statements from two employees
of the contractor who allegedly made repairs to the subject
apartment. This documentation was offered in support of the
owner's contention that it had made the required repairs to the
subject apartment in November 1990, April 1991 and May 1991. The
petition was served on the tenant on February 11, 1992.
The tenant filed a response on February 28, 1992 and stated
that the owner had not restored services and that the petition
should be denied.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be granted
in part and order here under review should be affirmed as modified.
The owner's argument that it had made the required repairs to
the subject apartment is rebutted by the report of the DHCR
inspector who visited the apartment after the repairs were
purportedly done. The inspector is neither a party to the
proceeding nor an adversary. Numerous prior decisions of the
Commissioner have stated that the report of a DHCR inspector is
entitled to more probative weight than the unsupported allegations
of a party to the proceeding. The owner's statement that it had no
additional opportunity to offer explanations to the complaint is
without merit. The filing of a complaint alleging failure to
maintain services puts the owner on notice of the existence of the
conditions and the necessity to investigate and make repairs.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record in Docket No.
BK520582S in order to determine if the rent was reduced for the
same conditions that form the basis for the rent reduction ordered
in this proceeding. Pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and
Eviction Regulations for New York City, the Administrator is
authorized to order a rent reduction, based on a failure to
maintain services, in an amount which reflects the decreased rental
value of the subject accommodations because of the reduced
services. Therefore, the rent may not be reduced twice for the
same condition. In Docket No. BK520582S the tenant complained about
damage caused by water leaks in the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom.
A review of the April 27, 1988 inspector's report in that
proceeding reveals that these allegations were confirmed and the
rent was ordered reduced because of the water damage found in each
of the three rooms.
The owner is correct in arguing that the rent reductions
ordered for the conditions relating to water damaged walls and
ceilings in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom are duplications of
the rent reduction previously ordered and in effect. Accordingly,
the findings in the order here under review which relate to these
conditions are revoked and the order here under review is further
modified to order a $20 per month rent reduction effective December
1, 1991. The order here under review is affirmed as modified.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent and Eviction Regulations for
New York City it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted in part, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed as modified herein. Any arrears owned
by the tenants based on the Commissioner's decisions herein may be
paid off in installments of $15.00 per month or immediately if the
tenant vacates that apartment.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA