FI 130284 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


          ----------------------------------x
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FI 130284 RO
                                                  
               FOOTHILL TERRACE ASSOCIATES        DISTRICT RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: EC 130022 B
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          
               On September 5, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued August 1, 1991. The order concerned housing 
          accommodations located at 210-40 Grand Central Parkway, Queens 
          Village, N.Y.  The Administrator ordered a building-wide 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 March 22, 1990 when 10 of 
          the 24 tenants of the building joined in the filing of a Statement 
          of Complaint of Decrease in Building-Wide Services wherein they 
          alleged the following services deficiencies:

                    1.   Broken front door lock,

                    2.   Roof door open,

                    3.   Intercom system not working in some apartments,

                    4.   Problems with hot and cold water in that cold water 
                         remains hot after hot water is run.

               The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded 
          an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on April 9, 
          1990 and stated that the front door is constantly checked by 
          maintenance personnel and repaired as needed, that any problems 
          with the door are caused by the tenants, that the roof door is 
          locked by a hook and eye lock which is in good working order, that 
          the tenants have not reported any problems with the roof door, that 
          water temperature may have fluctuated due to the installation of a 












          FI 130284 RO

          new water heater and that repairs were made to the intercom of 
          apartment 1G.  The owner attached to the answer a copy of a work 
          order for the repair of the intercom of Apartment 1G as well as the 
          invoice for the installation of the water heater mentioned above.
           
               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          apartment.  The inspection was conducted on April 24, 1991 and 
          revealed the following:

                    1.   Buzzer release mechanism defective at vestibule 
                         door,

                    2.   Roof door not locked.

          The Administrator advised the tenants to file individual apartment 
          complaints if any intercoms were broken.

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on August 
          1, 1991 and ordered a rent reduction equal to the most recent 
          guideline adjustment based on the report of the inspector. 

               On appeal the owner, through counsel, states that it was 
          denied due process in not receiving notice of the inspection and a 
          copy of the inspector's report.  The owner states that the order 
          here under review is defective in that it does not state what 
          specific problem exists with the buzzer release mechanism and that 
          security within the building is not threatened by any defect.  It 
          is the owner's contention that any problem with the release 
          mechanism is in the nature of routine maintenance and that such 
          problems do not warrant a rent adjustment.  Furthermore, the owner 
          argues that the tenants' complaint of a defective front door lock 
          did not put it on notice that there was a problem with the buzzer 
          mechanism.

               With regard to the roof door, the owner states that the door 
          is secured as required by law and that, if the door has been found 
          to be open, it is caused by the tenants and their children who 
          leave the door open when they go on the roof.

               Three tenants filed responses to the petition.  Two tenants 
          stated that the buzzer release mechanism, door lock and intercoms 
          are one system designed to operate together and that the complaint 
          should be read as including defects in the buzzer system.  The two 
          tenants desire that the order here under review be affirmed.  The 
          third tenant stated that, to the best of his knowledge, the 
          problems appear to have been repaired.

               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               The Commissioner rejects the owner's contention that it was 
          entitled to notice of the inspection, a copy of the inspection 






          FI 130284 RO

          report and a hearing.  Numerous prior orders of the Commissioner 
          have stated that due process is satisfied, and the owner put on 
          notice, by the service of the complaint.  The owner is not entitled 
          to any further notice or opportunity to be heard.  The courts have 
          affirmed this policy. (see Empress Manor Apartments v. DHCR 538 
          N.Y.S.2d 49, 2nd Dept. [1989])


               The Commissioner also rejects the owner's assertion that the 
          complaint regarding a defective front door lock did not put it on 
          notice of a problem with the buzzer mechanism.  Since a buzzer 
          mechanism controls the operation of the front door lock, the 
          Commissioner finds the two to be related enough that a complaint 
          regarding problems with the lock should have prompted the owner to 
          investigate the buzzer mechanism and determine if it was 
          functioning properly.  Furthermore, since the intercom system is 
          located at the vestibule door, the entrance door is not required to 
          be locked pursuant to the Housing Maintenance Code.  Therefore, the 
          Commissioner finds the complaint put the owner on notice to inspect 
          the buzzer mechanism.

               Furthermore, the inspector was not required to be more 
          specific in the report regarding the problem with the mechanism. 
          The inspector adequately investigated the complaint and the 
          determination made with regard to the buzzer did not have to 
          include a finding that building security was specifically 
          threatened.

               The owner's argument with regard to the roof door is at 
          variance with the report of the inspector.  Despite the owner's 
          statement that the door is locked as required by law, the inspector 
          specifically found the door open.  It is settled law that the 
          report of a DHCR inspector is entitled to more probative weight 
          than the assertions of a party to the proceeding.  It is not a 
          proper excuse to state that the door is open because the tenants 
          leave it in that condition.  The owner is responsible for seeing to 
          it that the door remains closed either by conducting more frequent 
          inspections of the door,  installing a more secure lock or taking 
          action against any tenant who leaves the door open.

               Pursuant to 9 NYCRR 2523.4 (a) the tenants may apply to DHCR 
          for a rent reduction and the rent shall be reduced upon the finding 
          that the owner has failed to maintain required services.  Such 
          services are defined to include repairs and maintenance.  The 
          Commissioner finds that the Administrator properly based this 
          determination on the entire record, including the results of the 
          on-site physical inspection conducted on April 24, 1991.  The order 
          here under review is affirmed.


               The Commissioner notes that rent restoration was granted in an 
          order issued by the Administrator on May 22, 1992 (see Docket No. 












          FI 130284 RO

          FI 130084 OR).

               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code 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.

          ISSUED:



                                                                             
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Acting Deputy Commissioner
                                   
    

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