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.: FB 230308-RT
: EJ 230331-RO
SHIRLEY WARD (TENANT REPRESENTATIVE) DRO DOCKET NO.: DJ 230052-B
and LP ALBANY REALTY BY
SHALOM BECKER PETITIONERS :
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITIONS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On October 23, 1990 and February 20, 1991, the above-named petitioners
timely filed or re-filed Petitions for Administrative Review against an
order issued on September 19, 1990 by the Rent Administrator of the Gertz
Plaza, Jamaica, District Rent Office, concerning the housing
accommodations known as 601 Albany Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
The issue herein is whether there was a decrease in services warranting
reduction of the legal regulated rent.
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 administrative appeals.
On October 24, 1989 various tenants filed a complaint alleging various
decreases in building services, specifically, vestibule door and lock are
broken, apartment intercoms are not working, a roof alarm is needed, as is
high power lighting around building, the door to the basement is always
open, tenants are using the garage as an auto shop, derelicts loiter in
the halls, there is severe rodent infestation, the elevator breaks down
frequently, hot water and heat are not at legal levels, the roof leaks
into the top floor apartments, the building's interior and exterior are
filthy, and repairs are not done in any apartment.
In its answer, dated December 10, 1989, the owner responded to the above
complaint alleging various repairs and changes in personnel and management
to improve building conditions, namely, replacement of front door, repair
of intercoms, a new roof door has been ordered and roof has been repaired
in several areas, a new porter has been hired, there is a full time
plumber, the tenant using the garage as an auto shop has been threatened
with eviction, and, to improve security the elevator does not go down to
the basement after 8 P.M.
On July 30, 1990 a physical inspection of the subject housing
accommodation was conducted by the DHCR. The inspector's report confirmed
existence of several of the complained of conditions, specifically,
entrance and vestibule door locks are defective and were not self locking,
DOCKET NUMBER: FB 230308-RT
the roof doors were not self closing, basement doors were not closed and
locked, elevator stops four inches below floor level on the 6th floor, and
the outside of the building was not clean.
On September 19, 1990, the Rent Administrator issued an order based on the
report of the physical inspection, reducing the legal regulated rent by
the percentage of the most recent guidelines adjustment for the tenants'
leases which commenced before December 1, 1987, the effective date of the
order, and directing the owner to refund to the tenant all amounts
collected in excess of the reduced rent since the above mentioned
In their petition, the tenants contend that a number of the problems
complained of which were found by the inspector to be maintained in fact
still exist throughout the building and the order should be amended to
reflect these conditions.
In response, the owner addresses each of the conditions enumerated in the
tenants' petition, and states that the allegations of the tenants are
unsupported by the Division and that the order should not be amended to
reflect conditions not found by the Division's inspector.
In its petition, the owner's managing agent states that it took over as
the new managing agent as of December 1, 1989 and the Division was
notified of this fact. The agent claims it was deprived of the
opportunity to respond to the tenants' complaint prior to the issuance of
the order. Furthermore, the petitioner disputes the inspection findings
in that the conditions found by the inspector are unrelated to the use
and enjoyment of the building services and, with the exception of the
elevator leveling condition, do not rise to the level of a required
In response, the tenants state that the owner should have known about the
tenants' complaint when it purchased the building, that the owner should
not have been given notice of any upcoming inspection, and that services
which were not cited in the Administrator's order are not being
maintained. The tenants also assert that while the outside of the
building is cleaned periodically it is not done often enough, and, that
debris can remain in the garden for between three and four weeks before
The Commissioner is of the opinion that both the owner's and tenants'
petitions should be denied.
Despite the tenants' assertions, the physical inspection failed to
disclose the conditions asserted in the tenants' petition. Consequently,
the Administrator's order cannot be amended to include conditions not
confirmed by the report of inspection.
The Commissioner rejects the owner's claim of lack of opportunity to
respond. The Commissioner notes that on December 10, 1989, in the
proceeding before the Administrator, the petitioner herein answered the
tenants' complaint. Included in the answer was the statement that "a new
management is involved" at the premises and "changes are taking place."
DOCKET NUMBER: FB 230308-RT
The answer is signed, "Shalom Becker, Managing Agent." Therefore,
petitioner's statement that it was deprived of the opportunity to respond
to the tenants' complaint prior to the issuance of the order is without
The Commissioner also rejects the owner's assertion that the conditions
which were found to have not been maintained by the owner are not
conditions which constitute required services under the Rent Stabilization
Section 2520.6(r) of the Rent Stabilization Code defines required services
as that space and those services which the owner was maintaining or was
required to maintain on the applicable base date and any additional space
or services provided or required to be provided thereafter by applicable
state or local law. These may include, but are not limited to, the
following: repairs, decorating and maintenance, the furnishing of light,
heat, hot and cold water, elevator services, janitorial services and
removal of refuse.
The Commissioner finds that the conditions cited in the Administrator's
order are in the nature of security, safety, and normal maintenance and as
such constitute required services within the Code.
While the owner asserts that there is no requirement that the vestibule
door be self closing, the Commissioner notes that the Administrator's
order makes no such finding. The order states that the entrance door is
not self locking and that the entrance and vestibule door locks are
defective. Petitioner agrees that the front entrance doors must be self
The owner also asserts that the basement door which leads to the garage
does not and should not be locked. If so, the owner states, no one would
be able to leave the building without using a key which would not be safe.
The Commissioner notes that the order did not direct that the door be
locked from the inside thus prohibiting egress for building residents.
However, this door, for building security, should be locked from the
outside to prevent entrance by outsiders.
The owner also asserts that the inspector failed state with specificity
what was "dirty" on the outside of the building and as such the owner is
not able to correct the condition. The record reflects that the tenants'
complaint stated that the building interior and exterior were filthy. The
owner, in answer to the tenants' complaint, stated that a new porter has
been hired and that the owner had spoken with the tenants' representative
and that "all is fine as long as we are taking care of it."
The exterior building condition was readily apparent to the Division's
inspector, notwithstanding the vague instruction to "check outside of
building-filthy". This fact, coupled with the statements of the owner's
agent that he had had discussions with the tenants' representative
regarding the complaints, leads to the conclusion that the owner was
sufficiently aware of the building condition and had reason to know what
condition the inspector's finding referred to.
DOCKET NUMBER: FB 230308-RT
While the owner disputes some of the inspection findings, it does not
dispute the finding regarding the front entrance door and agrees that the
condition of elevator leveling constitutes a reduction in service.
While the owner submits the statement of an elevator contractor dated
September 27, 1990 that the elevator was serviced in the month of
December 1989 and adjusted for proper leveling, such statement has no
relevant effect when weighed against the findings of the inspector several
The evidence of record indicates that the Administrator properly reduced
the rent based on a physical inspection conducted on July 30, 1990, which
revealed that the owner had failed to maintain and/or provide certain
This order is issued without prejudice to the owner's right to file an
application with the Division for a restoration of rent, if the facts so
warrant, and without prejudice to the tenant's right to file an additional
complaint of decrease in service should the owner fail to provide services
not reflected in the Administrator's order.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law
and Code, it is
ORDERED, that these petitions for administrative review be, and the same
hereby are, denied, and, that the order of the Rent Administrator be, and
the same hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA