FL 130333 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     SJR 6528 DEEMED DENIAL
                                                  
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FL 130333 RO
                                                  
          FISHER/FLANDER ASSOCIATES               RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: EK 130044 B
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          
               On December 18, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner timely 
          refiled a Petition for Administrative Review against an order of 
          the Rent Administrator issued August 6, 1991. The order concerned 
          various housing accommodations located at 87-10 37th Ave., Jackson 
          Heights, 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 November 19, 1990, when 59 
          tenants of the 84 who reside in the subject building filed a 
          Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Building Wide Services 
          wherein they alleged the following services deficiencies:

                    1.   Main entrance, side door, garage door and emergency 
                         entrance door locks broken; garage emergency exit 
                         condemned,

                    2.   Public areas in need of painting,

                    3.   Frequent malfunctioning of elevator and intercom 
                         systems,

                    4.   Deteriorating mail boxes,

                    5.   Inadequate public lighting,

                    6.   Rat and roach infestation,

                    7.   Lack of porter services,












          FL 130333 RO

                    8.   Garbage accumulation in laundry room,

                    9.   Lack of access to laundry room after 8 PM,

                   10.   Lack of prompt attention to apartment repair calls,

                   11.   Lack of smoke detectors in apartments,

                   12.   Uncourteous responses to tenant complaints by 
                         landlord and superintendent,

                   13.   Reduction of building wide wattage supply due to  
                         change of electrical fuses,

                   14.   Air conditioning and utility charges included on 
                         base rent.

               The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded 
          an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on December 
          26, 1990 and stated the following:

                    1.   Front door locked and properly secured by intercom 
                         system: side doors to professional apartments also 
                         secured by intercom system,

                    2.   Elevator working properly and maintained by 
                         elevator company,

                    3.   Intercom system functioning and maintained,

                    4.   Hallways sufficiently lighted,

                    5.   Extermination provided on second Monday of each 
                         month,

                    6.   Mailboxes functioning properly,

                    7.   Porter in building 6 hours a day for 6 days a week,

                    8.   Laundry room open from 8 AM to 10 PM,

                    9.   Superintendent promptly responds to complaints on 
                         receipt thereof,

                   10.   All apartments contain smoke detectors,






          FL 130333 RO


                   11.   Electrical services have not been reduced,

                   12.   Air conditioning charges separate from base rent.

               Seven tenants filed replies to the owner's response.  Each 
          tenant took issue with the owner's contention that services were 
          being maintained.
           
               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          apartment.  The inspection was conducted on February 7, 1991 and 
          revealed the following:

                    1.   Elevators do not stop level (specific problems 
                         detailed in order),

                    2.   Peeling paint and plaster on 1st floor and 
                         stairways leading to third and first floor on left 
                         side of building and third and first floor on right 
                         side of building.

          The following services were found to have been maintained:

                    1.   No evidence of defective locks of side doors,

                    2.   Adequate lighting of public areas,

                    3.   No evidence of roach or rodent infestation in 
                         public areas,

                    4.   Public areas clean,

                    5.   No evidence of garbage accumulation in laundry 
                         room,

                    6.   Although building entrance door not locked, 
                         vestibule door lock operative at time of inspection 
                         with intercom located between entrance and 
                         vestibule doors,

                    7.    Emergency exit doors operative.

               A second inspection was conducted on April 9, 1991.  The 
          inspector reported that there are two emergency garage door exits, 
          that there was no evidence that the emergency exits had been 
          condemned, and that a sign was posted indicating that the exit 
          existed. 

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on August 
          9, 1991.  The inspector's report was incorporated into the order.  
          The Administrator noted that a rent reduction was not warranted for 
          the unlocked entrance door based on the fact that the vestibule 












          FL 130333 RO

          door was locked.  The Administrator also noted that the owner had 
          stated that laundry room service was provided from 8 AM to 10 PM 
          and that the tenants had not rebutted the owner's assertion 
          although afforded an opportunity to do so.  Therefore, the 
          Administrator concluded that the schedule was adequate for laundry 
          service.  Finally, the Administrator advised the tenants that the 
          issue of electrical fuse amperage could not be ascertained by DHCR 
          inspection.  The tenants were advised to refer this issue to the 
          New York City Office of Code Enforcement.  A rent reduction of an 
          amount equal to the most recent guideline adjustment was ordered to 
          be effective December 1, 1990.

               On appeal the owner states that the order herein should be 
          reversed because the inspection dealt with matters beyond the scope 
          of the complaint.  The owner also objects to DHCR's processing of 
          the tenant's elevator complaint.  The owner asserts that this issue 
          should be adjudicated by the New York City Buildings Department.

               The tenant's association filed a response to the petition on 
          October 8, 1991.  The association stated, in sum, that DHCR's 
          processing of the elevator complaint was proper and within the 
          scope of the complaint.  They also stated that the side entrance to 
          the building on the west wing is not accessible, that the main 
          entrance inside lock handle is broken, that the garage escape door 
          has been condemned and that the fire escape stairways are blocked 
          by grown trees.

               Seven individual tenants filed responses to the petition 
          wherein they restated that the owner was not maintaining required 
          services and requested that the order here under review be 
          affirmed.  The owner filed a reply on February 19, 1992 and again 
          on July 7, 1992 wherein it again questioned DHCR's policy regarding 
          elevator inspections.    
           
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               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."  Required services are 
          defined by Section 2520.6(r) to include repairs, decorating, 
          maintenance and elevator services.

               The Commissioner initially notes that the rent reduction 
          ordered by the Administrator was based on the specific tenant 
          complaints of elevator malfunction and public areas in need of 
          painting.  The order clearly did not exceed the scope of the 
          complaint.

               With regard to the portion of the order here under review 
          which grants a rent reduction based on the inspector's report of 






          peeling paint and plaster, the Commissioner finds that there was of 
          sufficient evidence to support this finding.  The Commissioner 
          further finds that the owner has presented no evidence to rebut the 
          inspector's report.  Therefore, that portion of the order here 
          under review which found peeling paint and plaster in the public 
          areas is affirmed.

               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, comprehensive procedures and inspection 
          programs in place.  The staff engaged in carrying out these 
          programs 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 Commissioner notes that an elevator inspector from the 
          Department of Buildings conducted an inspection of the elevators in 
          these premises on January 8, 1991.  Among the violations found by 
          the inspector, for which the owner was cited, was the failure of an 
          elevator to stop level with the landing, the same violation found 
          by the DHCR inspector in February, 1991.  Both inspections verified 
          the tenant's complaint of reduced services.  Therefore, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that there existed sufficient 
          evidence to support a determination that elevator services are not 
          being maintained for which the rent reduction ordered by the 
          Administrator is required. Since both findings of the Administrator 
          were based on the record, the order here under review is, 
          therefore, affirmed.

               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
                                             Deputy Commissioner
                                   






    

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