FA 410125-RT, et al.
STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NOS.:
ROBERT COUTEAU, TED GOTTFRIED and FA 410126-RT
NANCY A. BRESLOW & RICK LITTLE, FA 430144-RT
PETITIONERS BK 430207-OM
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
The Commissioner has consolidated these petitions as they involve
common questions of law and fact.
The above-named tenants, filed timely petitions for administra-
tive review of an order issued on December 12, 1990, by a Rent
Administrator concerning the housing accommodation, known as 318
East 11th Street, New York, New York, wherein the Rent Adminis-
trator determined that the owner was entitled to a rent increase
based on major capital improvements (MCI).
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record
and has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant
to the issues raised by the petition for review.
The owner commenced this proceeding on November 30, 1987, by
filing an application for a rent increase based on major capital
improvements, to wit - a new front door, intercom system and
front door locks at a total cost of $2,404.65.
The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) served each
tenant with a copy of the application and afforded the tenants
the opportunity to review it and comment thereupon.
The tenant of Apartment 13 did not file an objection to the
owner's application although afforded the opportunity to do so.
The tenant of Apartment 12 alleged non-maintenance of services in
the building and alleged that the installations were not
necessary and their costs excessive.
The tenants of Apartment 8 requested and were granted an
extension of time in which to answer but did not indicate any
objections pertinent to the new installations.
On December 12, 1990, the Rent Administrator issued the order
here under review finding that the installations qualified as
major capital improvements, determining that the application
complied with the relevant laws and regulations based upon the
supporting documentation submitted by the owner, and allowing
appropriate rent increases for rent stabilized apartments.
In their petitions for administrative review, the tenants of
Apartments 13 and 12 request reversal of the Rent Administra-
tor's order and allege that the door/intercom installation was
redundant as there was already one in place, and that the costs
were excessive. Attached to one petition are three photographs
of the building entrance.
The tenants of Apartment 8 request reversal of the Rent
Administrator's order alleging that they were never afforded an
oppor-tunity to respond or comment on the owner's application,
that the installations were not improvements because they were
unneces-sary, that costs were excessive, that if the costs were
not excessive they should not have to pay for a luxury door, and
that services are not being adequately provided. Attached to the
petition are various photocopied pages of correspondence between
the tenants and the DHCR and the owner.
In answer to one tenant's petition the owner alleges that the
previous door was severely warped and beyond repair and that the
intercom improved security and permits visitors to buzz residents
from outside the building. Attached is a letter from a tenant in
substantiation of this allegation. The owner states that it
shopped around and that costs were reasonable.
The Commissioner notes that the tenants of Apartments 8 and 13
did not raise any objection to the owner's application while this
proceeding was pending before the administrator although afforded
the opportunity to do so. Accordingly, pursuant to Section
2529.6 of the Rent Stabilization Code the objections they raise
now for the first time on administrative appeal may not be
considered herein. Although the tenants of Apartment 8 allege
that they were not afforded the opportunity to comment on the
owner's application and although they allege that they never
received replies to their August 31, 1990 and September 12, 1990
letters, the Commissioner notes than on September 28, 1990 the
tenants of Apartment 8 and the tenant of Apartment 12 were served
with a notice granting them an additional 30 days extension of
time to file objections (until October 28, 1990) to which was
attached an answer form and a copy of the owner's application for
an MCI increase. The tenant were further advised "if you want to
look at the file for this case an appointment must be made with
our Public Information Dept." (It is additionally noted that
original notice sent to the tenants in February, 1988 also con-
tained a notice advising the tenants that a copy of the owner's
application complete with all supplements, schedules, and
supporting documents was available for their review at the DHCR
office in Jamaica "after you call for an appointment."
The Commissioner further notes, after a close review of the
evidence contained in the administrator's file, that the costs of
the installations were properly substantiated by all necessary
supporting documentation whereas the tenants' allegations are
unsubstantiated. The photographic exhibits attached to the
petition of the tenant of Apartment 12 indeed corroborate the
fact that the new door was installed and that the new intercom
was installed in a new location.
Rent increases for major capital improvements are authorized by
Section 2522.4 of the Rent Stabilization law for rent stabilized
apartments. Under rent stabilization, the improvement must
generally be building-wide; depreciable under the Internal
Revenue Code, other than for ordinary repairs; required for the
opera-tion, preservation, and maintenance of the structure; and
replace an item whose useful life has expired.
The record in the instant case indicates that the owner correctly
complied with the application procedures for a major capital
improvement and the Rent Administrator properly computed the
appropriate rent increases. The tenants have not established by
a preponderance of the evidence that the increase should be
This Order and Opinion is issued without prejudice to the ten-
ants' rights as they may pertain to applications to the Division
for a reduction of rent based upon a diminution of services.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and
Code, it is
ORDERED, that these petitions be, and the same hereby are, denied
and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby