FF 510622-RT
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   
                                                  FF 510622-RT                
                    JOSE NUNEZ,                   RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S      
                                                  DOCKET NO.:
                                                  DL 510602-S
                                  PETITIONER      PREMISES: 511 W. 175 St.
          ----------------------------------x          New York, NY 10033

                              FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW

          On June 20, 1991, the above-named petitioner-tenant filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against  an  order  issued  on
          June 5, 1991 by a Rent Administrator concerning the above housing 
          accommodations wherein  the  Administrator  determined  that  the
          owner had maintained services and accordingly reduced the rents.

          The issue on appeal is  whether  the  Administrator's  order  was

          The applicable law is Section 2523.4 of  the  Rent  Stabilization

          The tenant originally  commenced  the  proceedings  by  filing  a
          complaint of decrease in apartment services  which  was  received
          by the Division  of  Housing  and  Community  Renewal  (DHCR)  on
          January 18, 1991.  Enclosed with the complaint was a letter  from
          an agent of a  tenant's  association  which  contended  that  the
          complaint had originally been filed on November  28,  1989.   The
          DHCR mailed the complaint to the owner on February 8, 1991.  

          The owner failed to submit an answer.

          Thereafter an inspection of the subject apartment  was  conducted
          by a D.H.C.R. inspector who confirmed the existence of  defective

          The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services and 
          further ordered a reduction of the stabilization rent,  effective
          March 1, 1991.

          In its petition for administrative review, the tenant states,  in
          substance, that the rent eduction should have commenced effective 
          August, 1989, in accordance with an  inspection  which  confirmed
          the service reductions at that time which was  conducted  by  the

          FF 510622-RT

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

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code provides in  perti-
          nent part that a tenant may apply to the Division of Housing  and
          Community Renewal (DHCR) for a reduction of the  legal  regulated
          rent to the level in effect prior to the most  recent  guidelines
          adjustment, and DHCR shall so reduce the rent for the period  for
          which it is found that the  owner  failed  to  maintain  required

          In the instant case the only issue is the effective date  of  the
          rent reduction.  Petitioner contends that since the complaint  to
          the DHCR was originally filed in December, 1989, it was  improper
          to fix the date of the rent reduction in March,  1991.   Further-
          more petitioner believes the effective date should commence as of 
          August, 1989, in accordance with a court inspection report  which
          found a reduction of services.

          Although the record is unclear as to when the complaint which  is
          undated, was first received by DHCR, this much  is  certain:  the
          owner was not served with the complaint until February  8,  1991;
          hence the effective date of March 1, 1991.

          The Administrator's order is correct.  The  requirements  of  due
          process demand that no sanction for failure to maintain  services
          can be retroactively applied prior to t e  owner's  actual  know-
          ledge of the problem.  Since the DHCR record documents  that  the
          owner  only  received  the  complaint  in  February,  1991,   the
          determination that the effective date of the  rent  reduction  is
          March, 1991, being the month after the service of  the  complaint
          on the owner, is correct.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same  hereby  is,  denied
          and that Rent Administrator's order be, and the same  hereby  is,


                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Deputy Commissioner

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