FD230348RO
                                  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


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          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE     ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.: FD230348RO
                                                  
               MIDWOOD REALTY ASSOCIATES          RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: EB230109OR
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                  IN PART AND MODIFYING RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S ORDER

               On April 29, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued March 27, 1991. The order concerned housing 
          accommodations located at 1414 East 12th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.  
          The Administrator denied the owner's application for rent 
          restoration based on a finding that services had not been fully 
          restored.

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

               The owner commenced this proceeding by filing an Application 
          to Restore Rent on February 2, 1990 wherein it alleged that it had 
          restored services for which a rent reduction order bearing Docket 
          No. 74881B had been issued.  The tenants were served with a copy of 
          the application and afforded an opportunity to respond. 

               The tenants' representative filed a response to the 
          application on April 12, 1990 wherein it was  stated that the 
          application should be denied because there is water seepage through 
          the outer walls and around windows in Apts. 5A, 6A and 6B.  The 
          tenants further stated that stucco is peeling from the building 
          facade and is falling in several locations.  Finally, the tenants 
          stated that interest was not being paid on security deposits.  Two 
          individual tenants filed responses.  The tenant of apartment 6A 
          stated that there was a water seepage from the living room windows.  
          The tenant of Apt. 3L stated that her windows were not working 
          properly as they fall down and close after they are opened.

               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          building.  The inspection was conducted on October 3 and October 5, 












          FD230348RO

          1990 and revealed the following:

                    1.   Defective basement window locks which do not close 
                         properly,

                    2.   Cracked basement window panes,

                    3.   No sign posted in the public area to indicate the 
                         availability of exterminating services,

                    4.   Second floor hallway ceiling has peeling paint and 
                         plaster,

                    5.   Defective windows in the following apartments--1A, 
                         IF, IG, IH, 3L, 3N, 4G, 5C, 5D, 6A and 6B (specific 
                         problems noted in order).

          The following services were found to have been maintained:

                    1.   No evidence of water seepage and leaks through 
                         walls and around windows throughout public areas,

                    2.   No evidence of defective public area windows,

                    3.   No evidence of peeling paint on fire escapes,

                    4.   Garden area clean; bushes maintained,

                    5.   Compactor operable,

                    6.   Compactor area clean,

                    7.   No evidence of debris accumulation in basement,

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

                    9.   Superintendent resides in building,

                   10.   Vestibule door locks properly,

                   11.   Tenants can gain access or egress from side 
                         entrance door,







          FD230348RO

                   12.   No evidence of clogged exterior drainage system,

                   13.   No evidence of defective fences,

                   14.   Lobby and hallways clean,

                   15.   No evidence of defective mailboxes,

                   16.   No evidence of water seepage and leaks into walls 
                         and around windows of all apartments,

                   17.   Hot water temperature adequate.

               The Administrator sent the owner a notice dated October 24, 
          1990. The owner was advised of the results of the inspection and 
          afforded an opportunity to substantiate the completion of repairs 
          to all services which the inspector reported had not been restored.  
          The owner failed to respond to the notice.  A second notice was 
          sent on December 6, 1990.  The owner again failed to respond.  The 
          Administrator deemed that the owner had admitted that the services 
          noted above had not been restored.

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on March 
          27, 1991 and denied the application for rent restoration based on 
          the report of the inspector and the failure of the owner to respond 
          to the above-described notices.

               On appeal the owner makes the following arguments for reversal 
          of the order here under review:

                    1.   By letter dated July 12, 1989 the DHCR Compliance 
                         Bureau stated that the owner had complied with the 
                         directives contained in the order bearing Docket 
                         No. 74881B and was advised to file for rent 
                         restoration.  The owner's application resulted in 
                         the instant denial with the owner not being 
                         notified of the inspection or afforded an 
                         opportunity to comment thereon.  The owner states 
                         that this constituted a denial of due process,

                    2.   The owner was entitled to notice of the inspection 
                         and had the right to be present at the time 
                         thereof.  The owner argues that the failure to 
                         afford the owner these rights constituted a denial 
                         of due process,

                    3.   A rent reduction for defective basement window 
                         locks is inappropriate for tenants who do not 
                         reside in the basement.  The owner argues that a 
                         tenant must be directly affected by a service 
                         reduction to qualify for a decrease in rent,













          FD230348RO

                    4.   The owner is providing exterminator services and 
                         the lack of a sign in the public area is due to the 
                         fact that the sign is being constantly removed,

                    5.   A DHCR order (see Docket No. DB230138OR) issued 
                         August 11, 1989 states that the public areas of the 
                         building had been painted and plastered.  Any 
                         peeling paint and plaster found thereafter is a de 
                         minimis violation and not proper grounds for 
                         denying the rent restoration application,

                    6.   The owner installed new replacement windows in the 
                         building and the DHCR Compliance Bureau confirmed 
                         that fact.  Any problems with individual windows 
                         are in the nature of routine maintenance and should 
                         not constitute grounds for denial of rent 
                         restoration.  The owner listed the repairs 
                         allegedly made to the individual apartment windows 
                         in question.  Worksheets signed by the tenants of 
                         all apartments except Apt. 1-G were annexed to the 
                         petition.  The worksheets all indicate that the 
                         owner had made repairs or that no problems exist 
                         with the windows.  The owner states that it could 
                         not gain access to Apt. 1G,

                    7.   The owner attaches a letter from a window 
                         contractor to the petition.  The letter, dated 
                         September 2, 1988, states that the windows are in 
                         good working order and meet industry standards.  
                         The contractor states that the complaints regarding 
                         the inability of the windows to move up and down 
                         easily are based on the fact that the tenants 
                         involved are elderly and "may not have the 
                         strength" to open and close the windows properly.
           
          The petition was served on the tenants on May 28, 1991.

               On June 14, 1991 a neighborhood tenants' council representing 
          the tenants of the subject building filed a response to the 
          petition and requested additional time to respond, due to the 
          complexity of the issues involved.  No further response was ever 
          received.  One individual tenant filed a response on June 2, 1991 
          and stated that the building roof leaks and the ceiling in his 
          bedroom is wet and that the entrance door to his apartment is 
          cracked and cannot be locked.
           
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               Addressing the owner's arguments in the order presented, the 
          fact that the DHCR Compliance Bureau sent a letter to the owner 
          advising it that the compliance proceeding was being closed has no 






          FD230348RO

          bearing on the issue of rent restoration.  Indeed, in the letter 
          sent to the owner by the Compliance Bureau and dated July 12, 1989 
          the owner is advised that the rent restoration proceeding is a 
          separate and different proceeding requiring a different docket 
          number and that the rent would not be restored until the DHCR 
          issues an order granting the owner's application.

               With regard to the issue of the owner's right to be informed 
          of the inspection as well as the right to be present at the time 
          thereof, the Commissioner notes that numerous prior decisions have 
          held that an owner is not entitled to notice of an inspection or 
          the right to be present at the time thereof.  The courts have 
          upheld this policy (see Empress Manor Apts. v. DHCR 147 A.D.2d 642, 
          538 N.Y.S.2d 49 [2nd Dept. 1989]). 

               The Commissioner has rejected claims that only tenants who are 
          affected by the services decrease qualify for a rent reduction.  In 
          this proceeding the inspector reported a services decrease in a 
          common area of the building (the basement).  All tenants of the 
          building are entitled to the proper maintenance of the public 
          areas, regardless of where in the building they may physically 
          reside.  Thus, the owner's claim is rejected.

               The Commissioner has examined the original rent reduction 
          order as well as the inspector's report herein and agrees that the 
          lack of an extermination sign, in and of itself, is not prima facie  
          proof that the owner is not providing exterminator services.  
          Accordingly, the Administrator's finding regarding exterminator 
          services is revoked.  The revocation of the Administrator's 
          finding, however, does not effect the denial of the owner's 
          petition since the exterminator service issue was but one condition 
          the owner had to demonstrate was remedied.  There remained 
          independent grounds for the Administrator to determine that the 
          owner had not restored services. 

               The remainder of the owner's petition states an attack on the 
          report of the DHCR inspector.  The Commissioner rejects the owner's 
          contentions.  Regardless of the fact that the owner may have 
          painted and plastered in the public areas, the owner bears the 
          responsibility of maintaining the areas once they have been 
          repaired.  The report of the inspector clearly indicates that the 
          second floor hallway ceiling had peeling paint and plaster.  
          Similarly, the inspector detailed specific problems with the 
          individual windows.  It is settled law that the report of a DHCR 
          inspector is entitled to more probative weight than the unsupported 
          allegations of a party to the proceeding.  The owner has failed to 
          provide any evidence to rebut the inspector's report.  In sum, the 
          order here under review is modified to delete the Administrator's 
          finding regarding the posting of signs relating to the availability 
          of extermination services.  As modified, the order is affirmed.  
          The owner may refile for rent restoration when all services have 
          been restored.












          FD230348RO

               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code it 
          is 

               ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, 
          granted in part, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and 
          the same hereby is, affirmed as modified herein.

          ISSUED:



                                                                             
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner
                                    
    

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