OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                    GERTZ PLAZA
                              92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

     APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO. FF 130085-RO
                                            RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
        GEORGE SUBRAJ,                      DOCKET NO. CF 130005-OM
                           PETITIONER    : 

                                      IN PART

     On June 5, 1991 the above named petitioner-owner filed a Petition for 
     Administrative Review against an order of the Rent Administrator issued May 
     10, 1991.  The order concerned housing accommodations located at 88-15 
     Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, New York.  The Administrator granted, in part, the 
     owner's application for a rent increase due to the installation of major 
     capital improvements (MCI).

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

     The owner commenced this proceeding by initially filing, on June 2, 1988, an 
     application for rent increase based upon the following items: elevator 
     upgrading, waste compactor and mailboxes at a total cost of $41,024.00.  On 
     December 14, 1988 the DHCR served each tenant with a copy of the application 
     and notified them of the opportunity to respond thereto.

     Several tenants responded to the application complaining of defective 
     installation and objecting to the proposed increase.  The owner submitted a 
     permit by the New York City Department of Buildings wherein the Queens 
     Borough Superintendent certified that the elevator had been tested and 
     inspected and was certified to be operational.

     The Administrator issued the order appealed from May 10, 1991.  In that 
     order rent increases for the elevator and waste compactor were granted.  No 
     mention was made of the mailboxes.  Appropriate rent increases were ordered 
     for rent controlled apartments, effective June 1, 1991, and for rent 
     stabilized apartments, effective February 1, 1989.  The tenants were 
     directed to file service complaints if they believed that problems still 
     existed with the installations.

     The owner has appealed the Administrator's order on two grounds.  First, 
     petitioner states that the Administrator chose the wrong effective date in 
     granting the rent increase for stabilized apartments.  Petitioner argues 
     that the proper date should be August 1, 1988 and not February 1, 1989.  The 
     owner argues that, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Code, the increase had 
     to be effective 30 days after the filing of the application for rent 


          DOCKET NUMBER: FF 130085-RO
     The petitioner also argues that the Administrator improperly excluded any 
     mention of the mailboxes in the order here under review.  Petitioner argues 
     that pursuant to DHCR Operational Bulletin 90-2 mail boxes may be the proper 
     basis for an MCI, if they replace mail boxes whose useful life of 25 years 
     has expired.  The installation herein replaced mailboxes originally 
     installed in 1957.  One tenant filed a response but raised no issue relevant 
     to the owner's petition.

     After a careful review of the evidence in the record the Commissioner is of 
     the opinion that the petition should be granted in part.

     Petitioner is correct in pointing out that the Administrator's order makes 
     no mention of the mail boxes.  The Commissioner, in reviewing the record, 
     notes that the Examiner's Progress Sheet clearly states that the mailboxes 
     should be denied.  It is the established position of the Division that the 
     installation of mailboxes per se do not constitute a major capital 
     improvement but rather their structural relocation to a more secure area 
     behind locked doors (Accord: Docket No. FA 430216-RO).  In this case the 
     owner's application indicates the new mail boxes are located in the inner 
     vestibule or lobby, as were the old ones, and thus fail to satisfy the 
     additional requirement that the mailboxes be relocated to a more secure 
     inner area from an outer vestibule.  The Administrator's order is modified 
     to state that the mail boxes, with a claimed cost of $3,990.00 have an 
     approved cost of $0 for the reason stated above.

     Concerning the owner's contention with respect to the effective date of the 
     Administrator's order as it affects stabilized apartments, the Commissioner 
     notes that prior to the promulgation of the current Rent Stabilization Code 
     (May 1, 1987) it was the well recognized position of the Division that an 
     MCI rent increase was effective the first rent payment date 30 days after 
     the owner completed its application by the submission to the DHCR of a 
     certification of service of same upon the tenants (Accord: CG 430038-OR).  
     (With respect to rent controlled apartments, the applicable regulatory 
     provision provides that an order adjusting a previously established rent 
     shall not be effective prior to the issuance thereof, with limited exception 
     not here relevant).

     By virtue of the current stabilization Code, service of notice of the 
     application (as well as other documentation) devolved upon the DHCR.  Thus 
     in conformity with established policy and procedure the application is 
     deemed completed when notice thereof is given to the affected parties and 
     such individuals are afforded the opportunity to respond thereto.  In this 
     connection the Commissioner notes that a rent reduction order is made 
     effective the first rent payment date 30 days after an owner is served by 
     the DHCR with a copy of the service complaint.  In similar vein, a rent 
     restoration order is effective the first rent payment date 30 days after 
     tenants are served by DHCR with a copy of the owner's restoration 

     Turning to the case at hand, the record discloses that the instant 
     application was initially filed with the DHCR on June 2, 1988; and that 
     notice of the application was not served on the tenants until December 14, 
     1988, after the application went through a screening process to 


          DOCKET NUMBER: FF 130085-RO
     ascertain whether all requisite documentation had been submitted. (An    
     incomplete application could result in the rejection thereof).  However, in 
     view of the inordinate delay in completing the application process by 
     serving notice of the application upon the affected parties, the 
     Commissioner deems it appropriate, under the facts and circumstances of this 
     case, to change the effective date of the increase for stabilized apartments 
     to October 1, 1988 (rather than February 1, 1989), the first rent payment 
     date 30 days after when, by the nature of this proceeding, notice of the 
     application should have been served on the tenants.  (The Commissioner notes 
     that pursuant to an order issued April 19, 1989, Docket No. CH 130037-OR, a 
     building-wide rent restoration was made effective September 1, 1988, upon a 
     finding that the owner had restored services for which rents had previously 
     been reduced under Docket No. AI 13003-RO).

     THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Code 
     and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is

     ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is granted in part; that 
     the order of the Rent Administrator be, and the same hereby is modified as 
     herein above provided so as to change the effective date as to rent 
     stabilized apartments to October 1, 1988; and that as so modified, said 
     order be and the same hereby is affirmed; and it is further

     ORDERED, that the tenants may pay any arrears in rent resulting from this 
     order in three equal monthly installments.


                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                      Acting Deputy Commissioner



TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name