FF 630319 RO
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK   11433

          ----------------------------------X     S.J.R. 6040
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FF 630319 RO

                                                  DOCKET NO.: ZDD 610102 B



          On June 21,  1991,  the  above-named  petitioner  owner  filed  a
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on May 
          24, 1991, by the District Rent Administrator,  92-31  Union  Hall
          Street, Jamaica,  New  York,  concerning  housing  accommodations
          known as Various Apartments of 3539 Decatur  Avenue,  Bronx,  New
          York, wherein the District Rent Administrator determined that the 
          owner had failed to maintain services warranting a  building-wide
          rent reduction.

          The  issue  in  this  appeal  is  whether   the   District   Rent
          Administrator's order was warranted.

          The applicable section of the law is Section 2523.4 of  the  Rent
          Stabilization Code.

          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 administrative appeal.

          This proceeding was commenced on April 10, 1989 by  the  tenants'
          filing of a Statement of Complaint of a Decrease in Building-Wide 
          Services wherein the tenants contended in  substance  that  there
          was inadequate heat for many  apartments  in  the  building;  the
          elevator, ventilators, mailboxes, and security  camera  were  all
          defective; the building was infested with  roaches;  garbage  was
          accumulating in the incinerator room; there were  many  leaks  in
          the building and garage area; the plants around the building were 
          not being watered; and the master antenna was not be maintained.

          In response to the tenants' complaint,  the  owner  contended  in
          substance that  the  building  was  provided  with  exterminating
          services once a month; whenever  the  boiler  or  elevator  broke
          down,  the  maintenance  companies  were  called  immediately  to
          restore services; any complaints about ventilators, mailboxes and 
          leaks were handled as  they  came  in;  no  violations  had  been
          received concerning the incinerator; cable television service for 
          the building was being looked into; and the building was in  very

          FF 630319 RO
          good condition.

          On November 22, 1989 the subject building was  inspected  wherein
          the inspector noted that the heat and hot  water  were  adequate;
          the elevator was  working  properly;  the  incinerator  room  was
          satisfactory; all vents  were  working  properly;  there  was  no
          evidence of vermin infestation in the public areas;  all  of  the
          mailboxes were satisfactory;  the  security  camera  was  working
          properly; and there was no evidence of leaks in the garage.

          The subject building was inspected again on June 11, 1990 wherein 
          the inspector noted that the roof antenna was connected, but  the
          wires were loose;  the  stair  bulkhead  was  peeling  paint  and
          plaster extensively; the seventh (top) floor ceiling was  peeling
          paint and plaster; the sixth floor near  apartment  605  required
          painting; the incinerator rooms were clean; there was no evidence 
          of vermin in the public areas; there was no sign in the lobby for 
          regular exterminator visits; the public areas were clean; and the 
          plants and exterior shrubbery were dried and dying with  sections

          On June 20,  1990,  the  owner  was  notified  of  the  defective
          conditions found at the inspection and  was  advised  to  correct
          those conditions and the submit proof of compliance.

          On July 10, 1990 the owner informed the Division that the  plants
          and shrubbery were planted by the tenants at  their  own  expense
          and were therefore not a service provided by the owner; the  roof
          antenna wires had been secured; and arrangements had been made to 
          scrape, plaster and paint the stairway bulkhead and the sixth and 
          seventh floor ceilings.

          On August 16, 1990 another physical  inspection  of  the  subject
          premises occurred wherein the inspector noted that there  was  no
          evidence of missing or dying shrubbery/plants; there was evidence 
          of falling plaster in the stairwell bulkhead; there was  a  water
          stain and peeling paint and plaster in the seventh floor ceiling; 
          the sixth floor did not require painting;  and  a  loose  antenna
          wire was laid down flat on the roof floor and was not a hazard.

          On September 19, 1990 the owner was directed to  submit  evidence
          such as contracts and receipts to  substantiate  repairs  to  the
          bulkhead and sixth and seventh floor ceilings.

          The owner responded on October 9, 1990 and contended in substance 
          that the necessary work consisted of a very small area which  did
          not   require   an   outside   contractor;   and   the   building
          superintendent did the minor scraping,  plastering  and  painting
          repairs during the first week of October 1990.

          A final inspection of the subject premises occurred  on  November
          8, 1990 wherein the inspector discovered that the plaster on  the
          entire ceiling area of the bulkhead had fallen with a small  area
          of ceiling plaster remaining.  The size  of  the  affected  areas
          with fallen ceiling plaster were 6' X 10' and 4' X 7'.

          In Docket Number ZDD 610102 B issued May 24, 1991,  the  District
          Rent Administrator  determined  that  the  owner  had  failed  to
          maintain services, specifically finding that  the  bulkhead  area

          FF 630319 RO
          ceiling  plaster  had  collapsed,  and  accordingly,  ordered   a
          building-wide rent reduction effective June 1, 1989.

          In this petition,  the  owner  contends  in  substance  that  the
          District Rent Administrator's order is incorrect  and  should  be
          reversed because the bulkhead area was not listed in the tenants' 
          initial complaint; the owner was not  given  the  opportunity  to
          respond to the inspector's finding or to  correct  the  defective
          condition; the administrative processing of this case took almost 
          two years and there is no way that a determination  can  be  made
          that the defective condition existed for that length of time; and 
          the Division has previously held under Docket Number DJ 130338 RO 
          that a rent reduction may not lie for any condition which  exists
          in the bulkhead since it is on the roof and the tenants  are  not
          permitted access to the roof except in emergencies.

          The tenants of Apartment 604 responded to the owner's petition by 
          contending that the bulkhead ceiling  was  repaired  in  June  of
          1991, but that it can't be determined yet if the problem has been 
          corrected.  The tenants also contend that most of  the  defective
          conditions listed in their original complaint still exist.

          The Commissioner is of the opinion that this petition  should  be

          Section  2523.4  of  the  Rent  Stabilization  Code  provides  in
          pertinent 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 services.

          A review of the record in the instant  case  indicates  that  the
          subject premises was inspected on three  successive  dates  (June
          11, 1990, August 16, 1990 and November 8, 1990) and that at  each
          of those inspections the bulkhead area was defective with  either
          extensive peeling paint and plaster (June 11,  1990)  or  falling
          plaster (August 16, 1990 and November 8, 1990).  Furthermore, the 
          owner was notified on two separate occasions (June 20,  1990  and
          September 19, 1990)  of  the  defective  bulkhead  condition  and
          responded by stating on July 10, 1990 that arrangements had  been
          made to scrape, plaster  and  paint  the  bulkhead  area  and  by
          stating on October 9, 1990 that the repairs were completed in the 
          first  week  of  October  1990.   Based  on  the  foregoing,  the
          Commissioner  finds  that  the  owner  had  failed  to   maintain
          services,  and  that  the  Administrator  properly  reduced   the
          tenants' rents.

          Contrary  to  the  owner's  contention  on  appeal,  the  service
          decrease listed in the District Rent  Administrator's  order  was
          referred to by the tenants  in  their  original  complaint.   The
          finding by the  Administrator  that  the  bulkhead  area  ceiling
          plaster had  collapsed  directly  related  to  the  item  in  the
          tenants' complaint regarding several leaks in the building.

          With regard to the owner's contention that it was never given the 
          opportunity to respond to the inspector's finding or  to  correct
          the defective condition, the Commissioner notes that there is  no

          FF 630319 RO
          requirement that an owner be sent a copy of the inspection report 
          prior to the  issuance  of  the  Administrator's  rent  reduction
          order.  In the instant proceeding the  record  reveals  that  the
          owner was duly notified of the  tenants'  complaint  and  of  the
          defective condition of the bulkhead area and was  afforded  ample
          opportunity to repair the defective condition, but failed  to  do

          Finally, with regard  to  the  owner's  contention  that  a  rent
          reduction may not lie for  any  condition  which  exists  in  the
          bulkhead area  pursuant  to  Docket  Number  DJ  130338  RO,  the
          Commissioner notes that the instant case is distinguishable  from
          DJ 130338 RO in that in DJ 130338 RO the defective condition  was
          peeling paint and plaster whereas in the instant case almost  the
          entire bulkhead ceiling had collapsed.   Furthermore,  in  Docket
          Number DJ 130338 RO the Commissioner merely stated  that  a  rent
          reduction would not be warranted if the only defective  condition
          was peeling  paint  and  plaster  on  the  bulkhead  and  in  the
          basement.  The Commissioner did not state that a  rent  reduction
          may not lie for any condition which exists in the bulkhead area.

          This order and opinion is issued without prejudice to the owner's 
          right  to  file  a  rent  restoration  application  based  on   a
          restoration of services, if the facts so warrant.

          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 the District Rent Administrator's order be, and the same 
          hereby is, affirmed.

                                                  JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                  Deputy Commissioner

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