FG 430516 RT; FG 430517 RT
                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

APPEALS OF                              DOCKET NOS.: 
                                        FG 430516 RT
                                        FG 430517 RT

  HARRY C. SMITH, TENANT REP.           RENT         
                                        NOS.: ED 430031 RP    
                                             (CJ 430142 B)
                       PETITIONERS           ED 430029 RP
----------------------------------x          (CJ 430141 B)

     The above named petitioner-tenants, acting as tenant 
representatives, filed timely Petitions for Administrative Review 
against orders of the Rent Administrator issued at Gertz Plaza, 
Jamaica, N.Y. concerning the housing accommodations known as 83-89 
Barrow Street and 63-69 Morton Street, New York, N.Y.  

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

     The orders appealed herein revoked previously issued building- 
wide rent reductions after a physical inspection on May 29, 1991 
revealed no defects in the door locks leading from the rear of each 
building to the courtyard.   The inspector also reported that a 
gate on Hudson Street to the middle courtyard was locked, that 
laundry rooms were provided in both buildings and that there was a 
storage room in the Barrow Street basement accessible to all 
tenants through the superintendent.

     In the two petitions for administrative review filed by the 
tenants associations for the respective buildings, the tenants 
acknowledge that services have been restored, but argue, in 
essence, that it was improper to revoke the rent reductions solely 
on the basis of the last inspection held on May 21, 1991, when, in 
fact, the tenants had been denied security, laundry room and 
storage space for almost two years after the tenants' complaint.

     The owner was served with copies of the petitions in June 1992 
and submitted answers through counsel.

          FG 430516 RT; FG 430517 RT

               In that answer the owner first asserts that since the 
          petitions did not include evidence of authority to act in a 
          representative capacity at the time they were filed, any 
          determination by the Commissioner can effect only apartments 5D of 
          63 Morton Street and apartments 4K and 4L of 83 Barrow Street, the 
          residences of the tenant representatives.  The owner further 
          contends in substance that, with regard to the door locks, the rear 
          exit doors never had locks until recently when they were installed 
          solely because of the original rent reduction orders.  The owner 
          states that the rear exit doors need not be locked because they 
          lead only to an enclosed courtyard that is not accessible to 
          nonresidents and that the real security issue in this case involves 
          the Hudson Street gate which has always been locked.  The owner 
          asserts that another physical inspection at this time on remand 
          would be pointless.

               As for the laundry room, the owner contends that this issue 
          was decided in the owner's favor in prior Office of Rent Control 
          and Conciliation and Appeals Board (CAB) proceedings and to raise 
          it again now constitutes an impermissible collateral attack on a 
          final administrative determination.  The owner also asserts that 
          there is no basis for finding that laundry room services are either 
          required or essential services.  They were not in place in 1968,  
          according to the owner, and there was no increase in the maximum 
          rent when they were subsequently installed.  The owner also argues 
          that there is also no basis for finding that the laundry facilities 
          are a substitute for denial of access to clotheslines on the roof 
          since it was never established that access to the roof was an 
          essential service provided to the tenants and even if it were, 
          there is no provision for allowing an owner to substitute one 
          service for another.  Inasmuch as the laundry facilities were 
          always provided by an independent contractor, the owner states that 
          they were not required services for rent stabilized tenants.  As 
          for storage space, the owner asserts that this was also determined 
          in a prior proceeding before the CAB, that there was never a 
          finding that storage space had been eliminated, and it is not 
          unreasonable or a reduction in services to require tenants to 
          notify the owner that they need storage.

               After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the 
          opinion that these proceedings should be remanded to the 
          Administrator for further consideration as more fully set forth 
          below and to be consolidated with the proceedings remanded by the 
          Commissioner's order issued on July 20, 1992 under Docket No. EH 
          430087 RO et al. which resolved owner's petitions and individual 
          tenants' petitions against the same Administrator's orders.

               The reasons for the remand and the specific directives to the 
          Administrator regarding the issues to be determined are contained 
          in the Commissioner's July 20, 1992 order to which the parties are 
          referred.  Pursuant to that order, the Administrator will determine 

          FG 430516 RT; FG 430517 RT

          on remand whether a rent reduction is warranted for defective door 
          locks, the elimination of the Barrow Street laundry room and the 
          deprivation of storage facilities.  The effective dates of such 
          rent reductions, if any, will be determined, as well as the dates 
          of rent restoration.

               An additional matter to be resolved in the instant proceedings 
          concerns the validity of the purported representative capacity of 
          the petitioners herein.  The petitioners have established by means 
          of signed certified mail receipts that the instant petitions were 
          timely filed in July 1991.  However, since the Division had no 
          record of the filings they were not docketed until June 1992 when 
          the tenants' proof was received.

               The absence of evidence of authority to act in a 
          representative capacity was brought to the attention of the 
          petitioners on July 8 and 17, 1992 and they responded in a timely 
          manner with the appropriate documentation.  Under the circumstances 
          of these cases, including the Division's apparent misplacement of 
          the original petitions, the petitioners' prompt cure of the defects 
          in the petitions and the Administrator's improper revocation of the 
          rent reduction, the Commissioner finds that any rent reductions 
          subsequently ordered by the Administrator pursuant to this remand 
          should apply to all rent controlled tenants in the subject 
          buildings and to those rent stabilized tenants who joined in the 

               The Commissioner notes that in an October 15, 1990 order of 
          Judge Pecora, the implementation of the August 24, 1989 rent 
          reduction order was stayed pending a final determination of the 
          matter on the condition that the owner deposit all rent collected 
          in excess of legal rent into an interest bearing account 
          established by the owner's attorney.  The stay was ordered to be 
          continued by the Court (Lehner, J.) which ordered the proceeding 
          remanded to the agency.  Accordingly, pending a final determination 
          in this proceeding by the Division, the parties are advised that 
          there is no rent abatement in effect.  All rent payments in excess 
          of the abated amount made by the tenants shall, consistent with 
          Judge Lehner's order, be held by the owner's attorney in an 
          interest bearing escrow account.

               THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent 
          Stabilization Law and Code and Rent and Eviction Regulations for 
          New York City, it is,

          FG 430516 RT; FG 430517 RT

               ORDERED that these petitions for administrative review be, and 
          the same hereby are, granted and that the proceedings be, and the 
          same hereby are, remanded to the Rent Administrator for 
          consolidation with the proceedings remanded by the Commissioner on 
          July 20, 1992 (EH 430087 RO).


                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner

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