FI130068RO
                                  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
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FI130068RO
                                                  
          JUDY REALTY CO.                         RENT
          C/O ROSENBERG & ESTIS                   ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: DK130083B
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          
               On September 13, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed 
          a Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued August 12, 1991. The order concerned various 
          housing accommodations located at 40-66 Ithaca Street, Elmhurst, 
          N.Y.  The Administrator ordered a rent reduction for failure to 
          maintain required services.  

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

               This proceeding was commenced on November 22, 1989 when 31 
          tenants filed a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services  
          wherein they alleged, among other things, frequent elevator 
          breakdowns and a dirty basement with bad odors.

               The Commissioner notes that the tenants filed additional 
          building-wide services complaints.  These complaints were assigned 
          Docket Nos. EJ130091B and EH130094B and alleged many of the same 
          conditions as the first complaint including the problems with the 
          elevator service and the dirty basement.  These proceedings were 
          all consolidated

               The owner was served with a copy of each complaint and 
          afforded an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on 
          January 24, 1990 and stated, in pertinent part, that any elevator 
          breakdown is immediately repaired by a licensed contractor and that 
          the basement is cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.  The 
          owner attached a letter from the elevator maintenance company to 
          the effect that the elevator is being properly maintained, as well 
          as an affidavit from the building superintendent, to the effect 
          that the tenants' complaints are without merit.  













          FI130068RO

               The tenants filed a reply on October 12, 1990 wherein they 
          essentially restated the allegations of the complaint and requested 
          a DHCR inspection of the premises.  The owner filed a reply on 
          November 6, 1990 wherein it again offered evidence that the 
          elevator was being maintained.  The owner also stated that the 
          basement is cleaned on a regular basis.
           
               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          building.  Inspection were conducted on October 4, 1990 and 
          reinspected on December 11, 1990 and revealed defective operation 
          of the elevator and garbage accumulation in the basement.  Other 
          conditions complained of by the tenants were not confirmed.

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on August 
          12, 1991, directing the owner to restore the services and ordering 
          a rent reduction of $9.00 per month for all rent controlled tenants 
          and an amount equal to the most recent guideline adjustment for 
          rent stabilized tenants who joined in the complaint.

               On appeal the owner, through counsel, states that the elevator 
          levels properly according to industry standards, that the tenants 
          did not allege any elevator leveling problem in their complaint, 
          that the elevator is routinely repaired and maintained and that the 
          basement is cleaned on a regular basis. 

               The tenants association filed a joint response on October 17, 
          1991 wherein it stated, in sum, that the order here under review 
          was correctly issued and that the owner's petition should be 
          denied.  The owner filed a reply on November 20, 1992 wherein it 
          reiterated that the elevator operation was in compliance with 
          accepted industry standards .  It also stated that the complaint 
          filed by the tenants made no mention of garbage accumulation in the 
          basement and that, therefore, the Administrator exceeded the scope 
          of the complaint in basing the rent reduction, in part, on this 
          condition.
           
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               The Commissioner finds the owner's argument with regard to the 
          garbage accumulation in the basement to be without merit.  The 
          tenants clearly complained of a "filthy" basement.  This complaint 
          was sufficient to put the owner on notice of the condition .  The 
          report of the DHCR inspector is clear and not contradicted by any 
          independent evidence.  Numerous prior decisions of the Commissioner 
          have held that such a report is entitled to more probative weight 
          than the unsupported allegations of a party to the proceeding.

               With regard to the issue of the elevator, the Commissioner 
          acknowledges that enforcement of applicable standards regarding 
          elevator operation and safety is under the jurisdiction of the New 
          York City Department of Buildings, which has long-established, 






          FI130068RO

          comprehensive procedures and inspection programs in place.  The 
          staff engaged in carrying out these inspections 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.

               Accordingly, the relevant inquiry is whether the Department of 
          Buildings has issued violations for the elevators in the subject 
          building during the period when the proceeding was before the DHCR.  
          The Commissioner notes that an elevator inspector of  the 
          Department of Buildings conducted an inspection of the elevators in 
          the premises on July 10, 1990, and reported violations of the New 
          York City Administrative Code of failing to maintain the elevator 
          in a safe condition and in good working order.  Based on these 
          violations confirming the tenants' complaint regarding the 
          elevators, the Commissioner finds that a rent reduction for failure 
          to maintain elevator service as ordered by the Administrator is 
          warranted.

               Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code a 
          tenant may apply to the DHCR for a rent reduction and the Division 
          shall reduce the rent based on a finding that the owner is failing 
          to maintain required services.  Repairs, maintenance, elevator 
          services and removal of refuse are included in the definition of 
          required services pursuant to Section 2520.6(r).  The Administrator 
          was required to reduce the rent of rent stabilized tenants upon 
          finding that required services were not being maintained.  With 
          regard to rent controlled tenants, the Administrator was empowered 
          pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations to 
          order a rent reduction approximating the reduction in rental value 
          as the result of a decrease in essential services.  Essential 
          services are defined by Section 2202.3 to include repairs, 
          maintenance, elevator service, janitor service and removal of 
          refuse.  The Commissioner finds that the rent reduction ordered by 
          the Administrator for defective elevator service and garbage 
          accumulation in the basement was warranted.

               The Commissioner notes that the owner has applied for rent 
          restoration and that the Administrator issued an order restoring 
          the rents on May 26, 1992 (Docket No. FI130063OR).
              
               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code and 
          Rent and Eviction Regulations it is 

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













          FI130068RO

          ISSUED:



                                                                             
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner
                                   
    

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