FH130339RO
                                    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



          ----------------------------------x     S.J.R. NO.:  6135
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:                  
          FH130339RO    
                   OCEAN LEASING CO.
               c/o MID STATE MANAGEMENT,          RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                                                  DOCKET NO.:
                                   PETITIONER     EF130024B           
          ----------------------------------x

              
           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW,
             AND REVOKING THE RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S RENT REDUCTION ORDER


          On August 27, 1991, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a peti- 
          tion for administrative review (PAR) of an order issued on July 30, 
          1991, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing accommo- 
          dation known as 22-11 New Haven Avenue, Far Rockaway, New York, 
          wherein the Administrator determined the tenants' complaint filed 
          on June 12, 1990, alleging a decrease in various building-wide 
          services, including that the owner had failed to maintain elevator 
          services, in that there were chronic elevator service interrup- 
          tions. 

          The Administrator dismissed the tenants' complaint with respect to 
          all other issues.  An amended order was issued on August 21, 1991, 
          to serve page 2 of the order on the parties, inadvertently omitted 
          in the initial mailing.  The amended order did not affect the 
          findings herein under review.

          The tenants' complaint had alleged, in pertinent part, that the 
          "elevators [were] broken 4-5 times monthly."  However, the 
          Administrator limited the investigation to levelling conditions 
          only.  Inspections were conducted on November 13, 1990 and on 
          January 24, 1991.

          The Division's inspector observed that the building has two wings, 
          denominated left and right, with one elevator in each wing.  The 
          November 13, 1990 inspection showed the elevators to be levelling 
          properly in most instances.  The reinspection on January 24, 1991, 
          also found both elevators to be levelling properly for the majority 
          of floors with only two isolated occurrences where the elevator did 
          not level.













          FH130339RO




          On July 30, 1991 the Administrator issued the challenged order 
          determining that elevator services were reduced based on a finding 
          that both elevators failed to level properly.  

          On appeal, the owner argues that the order herein should be 
          rescinded because, among other things, the inspection dealt with 
          matters beyond the scope of the complaint.  The owner also objects 
          to the DHCR's processing of the tenants' complaint, asserting that 
          this issue should be adjudicated by the New York City Buildings 
          Department.

          The owner also reiterates the arguments made below that the 
          elevators were on a monthly maintenance program, that they were 
          checked regularly, and that service calls were taken care of within 
          24 hours of notification, and that the type of elevators involved 
          could not be made to level more precisely, even when new.

          The owner also filed a petition in the Supreme Court pursuant to 
          Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, requesting that the 
          "deemed denial" of the administrative appeal filed on August 27, 
          1991 be annulled.  The Court remanded the proceeding to the 
          Division for an expeditious determination of the administrative 
          appeal.

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code states that a tenant 
          may apply to DHCR for a rent reduction and "the DHCR shall so 
          reduce the rent for the period for which it is found that the owner 
          has failed to maintain services."   Section 2520.6(r) of the Code 
          defines required services to include repairs, decorating, mainten- 
          ance and elevator services, among other items.

          Pursuant to these Code sections, the Commissioner notes initially 
          that the DHCR has the requisite authority to process tenants' 
          complaints of elevator service decreases.  The owner is correct 
          that the Administrator dealt with matters beyond the scope of the 
          tenants' complaint, to the extent that the Administrator improperly 
          limited the investigation to levelling conditions, which were not 
          cited by the tenants, whereas the tenants' complaints of chronic 
          elevator service interruptions were not investigated.

          It is noted that on the two occasions that DHCR staff inspectors 
          visited the subject building, both elevators were operational, 
          albeit not levelling on two landings.

          On appeal, the New York City Department of Buildings violation 
          reports were obtained.  The City Department of Buildings has long- 
          established, comprehensive procedures and inspection programs in 








          FH130339RO


          place, and the City staff engaged in carrying out these programs 
          also has the necessary technical expertise to conduct periodic 
          inspections; to interpret and apply relevant codes, regulations and 
          industry standards; and to issue violations.  Further, in view of 
          the City's greater experience with elevator enforcement, the City 
          is in a better position than the DHCR to determine appropriate 
          performance standards and ancillary equipment for elevators of 
          varying age and manufacture.

          The record of City inspections conducted on April 24, 1990 and 
          March 11, 1991 show only one violation for the period from the date 
          the complaint was filed (June 12, 1990) to the date of the Adminis- 
          trator's order (July 30, 1991).  The violation cited was a 
          defective certificate frame; a condition that has no impact on 
          elevator services.

          The Commissioner finds, therefore, that the evidence was insuffi- 
          cient to support a determination of decreased elevator services 
          warranting a rent reduction.

          It is also noted that on May 29, 1992 the Administrator granted the 
          owner's rent restoration application per Docket No. FH130072OR, 
          based on the results of an inspection that showed the elevators to 
          be levelling adequately.


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

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted, 
          and that the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, 
          revoked.  Rent arrears due the owner from the tenants as a result 
          of this order may be paid over the course of the next twelve (12) 
          months following the date of this order.


          ISSUED:




                                                                           
                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                Deputy Commissioner


                                          







    

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