FG 130218 RO
                                

                       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
                                
                                
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IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FG 130218 RO

   FOOTHILL TERRACE ASSOCIATES,         DISTRICT RENT
                                        ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET
                                        NO.: EC 130021 B
                        PETITIONER
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  ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
     IN PART AND REMANDING PROCEEDING TO RENT ADMINISTRATOR
                                
      On  July 22, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed  a
Petition  for Administrative Review against an order of the  Rent
Administrator issued June 20, 1991.  The order concerned  housing
accommodations  located  at 210-34 Grand Central  Parkway  Queens
Village,  New  York.  The Administrator ordered  a  building-wide
rent  reduction due to failure to maintain required or  essential
services.

      The  Commissioner  has reviewed the  record  and  carefully
considered  that portion relevant to the issues  raised  by  this
appeal.

      The tenants commenced this proceeding by filing a Statement
of  Complaint of Decrease in Building-Wide Services on  March  8,
1990.  The following services deficiencies were enumerated in the
complaint:

          1.  Front door -- broken lock; door broken for two
              years.

          2.  Roof door -- always open.
          
          3.  Inadequate heat and hot water.
          
          4.  Lights in hallways missing.
          
      The  owner  was  served with a copy of  the  complaint  and
afforded an opportunity to comment thereon.

      The  owner  filed a response on April 19, 1990  wherein  it
alleged the following: that the front door was constantly checked
and  repaired  when necessary and that any problems  were  tenant
caused; that the roof door is locked by a hook and eye and is  in
working order; that the heat and hot water fluctuated due to  the
installation  of  a  new water heater but,  at  no  time,  did  a
services reduction occur; and that the lights were replaced on  a
monthly basis and were working.

      The  Administrator  ordered a physical  inspection  of  the
premises  which was conducted on April 24, 1991.  The  inspection
revealed the following:

               1.Vestibule  door lock defective;  it  sticks
               and  does  not latch unless pushed or  pulled
               when closed.
               
The following services were found to have been maintained:

          1.   Roof door locked.
          2.   Public area lights operative.
          
      On  June  20, 1991 the Administrator issued the order  here
under  review wherein a building-wide rent reduction was  ordered
based on the defective door lock.

      On appeal, the owner, through counsel, raises three grounds
for reversal of the Administrator's order:

          1.  The tenant's original complaint regarding the door
              lacked the requisite specificity on the issue of
              a defective lock to warrant a rent reduction.

          2.  The granting of a rent reduction for the defective
              lock contravened DHCR policy with regard to defects
              requiring routine maintenance in that such defects
              do not warrant a reduction.

          3.  The Administrator erred in not providing the owner
              with the results of the inspection report and
              affording the owner 21 days to correct the problem
              before issuing the order here under review.

      Two  tenants filed responses wherein they stated  that  the
door frames in question had been removed and were standing in the
hallway.

      The  Commissioner has carefully considered the evidence  in
the  record  and  is of the opinion that the petition  should  be
granted in part and the proceeding remanded to the Administrator

     Addressing the owner's arguments in the order presented, the
Commissioner  finds  the  first two to  be  without  merit.   The
tenant's  complaint clearly states that the front door  lock  was
broken.   This  put the owner on notice of the existence  of  the
problem.   Nor  is  the service deficiency  one  covered  by  the
doctrine of routine repair.  A broken front door lock calls  into
question  the  important issues of building security  and  tenant
safety.  Failure to maintain an adequately locked front door is a
decrease   in   services  warranting  a  rent   reduction.    The
Commissioner  also  notes that neither  of  these  arguments  was
raised by the owner in its response to the complaint.

     Turning to the third point raised by the owner, i.e. failure
to  afford  it the opportunity to correct the problem before  the
issuance  of the order here under review, the Commissioner  notes
that  the  owner did raise the argument before the Administrator,
that the tenants were responsible for the fact that the lock  was
continually broken because they failed to provide keys  to  their
children.  The owner also claimed in answer to the complaint that
the  door  and  locks were continually  checked and such  repairs
continuously  done when necessary.  The Commissioner  is  of  the
opinion  that given the particular facts of this case in  that  a
recurring  and  tenant-caused condition was alleged  regarding  a
required  building-wide  service  affecting  tenant  security,  a
second  inspection should have taken place after  notice  to  the
owner  of  the results of the first inspection, before  the  rent
reduction was ordered.  Therefore, this proceeding is remanded to
the Administrator so that an additional inspection can be ordered
to determine if the lock has been repaired.  If the Administrator
so  finds,  based  on  the  inspector's  report,  then  the  rent
reduction  order should be revoked.  If, however, the  inspection
reveals  that the lock is still defective, the order  here  under
review   will remain in full force and effect from the  effective
date set forth therein.

      THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and  Code
it is,

      ORDERED,  that  this petition be, and the same  hereby  is,
granted in part, and that this proceeding be, and the same hereby
is, remanded to the Rent Administrator for further processing  in
accordance with this Order and Opinion.  The automatic stay of so
much  of  the  Administrator's order as directed  repairs  and  a
retroactive  rent abatement is continued until  a  new  order  is
issued on remand.  However, the Administrator's determination  as
to a prospective rent abatement is not stayed and shall remain in
full  force and effect until the Administrator issues a new order
on remand.

ISSUED:


JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                   Acting Deputy Commissioner
                              
    

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