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
APPEALS OF DOCKET NO.:
VARIOUS TENANTS OF
42-15 43RD AVENUE RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
AND REMANDING PROCEEDING TO RENT ADMINISTRATOR
On July 23, 1991, various tenants of the subject building
filed a petition for administrative review of an order issued on
June 24, 1991, by a Rent Administrator concerning the building
known as 42-15 43rd Avenue, Sunnyside, New York wherein the
tenants' rent reduction application was denied and the owner
directed to restore services based on a finding that the building
is operated by a court appointed receiver.
On June 25, 1992 the Commissioner issued an order and opinion
granting the petition for administrative review of the tenants and
modifying the Administrator's order to the effect of ordering a
rent reduction for rent controlled and rent stabilized tenants
based on the report of the DHCR inspector.
On June 26, 1992 the owner requested reconsideration of the
order and opinion described above. The owner stated that it had
obtained title to the subject building pursuant to judicial sale on
March 6, 1992. The owner further stated that it was never given
the opportunity to participate in the administrative review process
despite having notified the DHCR of this change in ownership before
the issuance of the Commissioner's order and opinion. The
Commissioner issued an order on July 14, 1992 wherein the owner's
request for reconsideration was granted and the proceeding was
The Commissioner has again reviewed all of the evidence in the
record and has carefully considered that portion relevant to the
issues raised by the petition for review.
On November 16, 1990 the subject tenants filed an application
for rent reductions based on the owner's alleged failure to
maintain services alleging that an elevator in the building was
"chronically out of order".
The owner interposed an answer to the tenants' complaint
wherein it submitted evidence that the property was being operated
by a court appointed receiver. An additional response was filed
wherein the owner stated that the elevators were regularly serviced
and that an engineer was being consulted in order to determine if
any rebuilding was necessary.
On January 25, 1991 a physical inspection of the subject
building was carried out by the Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR). The inspector, in his report, noted that one
elevator was out of order.
On January 31, 1991 the Administrator sent a notice to the
owner wherein it was advised of the results of the DHCR inspection
and afforded an opportunity to make repairs and present evidence of
such repairs to the Administrator. On February 4, 1991 the owner
sent the Administrator a response wherein it stated that the
elevator in question had been repaired. The owner attached a copy
of the elevator service contract to the response.
On February 13, 1991 the owner sent an additional response to
the Administrator wherein the owner stated that it had entered into
a contract for the replacement of the elevator. It attached a copy
of said contract to the response.
The Administrator issued the order here under review on July
10, 1991. While noting the results of the DHCR inspection described
above, the Administrator dismissed the proceeding based on the fact
that the evidence indicated that the subject building was owned by
In their petition for administrative review the tenants
requested reversal of the Rent Administrator's order alleging that
there exists no legal basis for denying the tenants' application
for rent reductions. The Commissioner issued an Order and Opinion
on June 25, 1992. The order granted the petition and modified the
Administrator's order to the extent of ordering a rent reduction.
The Commissioner specifically found that no legal basis existed for
excusing a court appointed receiver from a rent reduction that is
otherwise warranted. The petition was served on the owner on July
On November 25, 1992, after the proceeding had been reopened,
the owner filed an answer to the petition of the tenants. After
detailing the relevant procedural history the owner makes the
1. The fact and circumstances of this particular
proceeding are insufficient to warrant a rent
reduction since any elevator breakdown was
temporary in nature and was repaired as of February
2. If a rent reduction is still found to be warranted
it must be ordered solely for the tenants who live
in the right wing of the building since they are
the only ones "affected" by the diminution in
3. The receiver who collected the rents is liable to
the tenants for any rent reduction ordered,
4. It is the policy of the DHCR to no longer order
rent reductions for defects in elevator operation.
After careful consideration the Commissioner is of the opinion
that this petition should be granted and the proceeding should be
remanded to the Rent Administrator.
The Commissioner finds that there is no basis for excusing a
court appointed receiver from a rent reduction that is otherwise
The Rent Stabilization Code [Section 2520.6(i)] defines an
"A fee owner, lessor, sublessor, assignee, net
lessee or a proprietary lessee . . . or any
other person or entity receiving or entitled
to receive rent for the use or occupation at
any housing accommodation . . . "
Similarly, the Rent and Eviction Regulations [Section
2200.2(h)] define a landlord as an;
"owner, lessor, sublessor, assignee
or other person receiving or entitled
to receive rent for the use and
occupancy of any housing
accommodation . . .",
a definition that would encompass a receiver.
As an entity entitled to receive rent, a Court appointed
receiver is within the definition of an owner.
Section 2523.4 of the Code provides for a rent reduction, upon
application by a tenant, based on a finding that the owner has
failed to maintain required services. Required services are
defined in Section 2520.6(r) to include elevator services.
Section 2202.16 of the regulations authorizes a rent reduction
based on a finding that there has been a decrease in essential
services which are defined in Section 2200.3(b) to include elevator
The record indicates that the owner was notified of the
results of the inspection finding that the elevator was inoperative
and responded that repairs had been made pursuant to a service
contract. On remand, the Administrator should investigate, by
means of a hearing if necessary, when the elevator was repaired.
If it was before the Administrator's order was issued, on July 10,
1991, no rent reduction should be ordered. If it was after the
July 10, 1991 issuance date, a guideline rent reduction should be
ordered for all stabilized tenants who joined in filing the instant
petition, effective December 1, 1990 and an appropriate rent
reduction for all rent controlled tenants in the building effective
August 1, 1991.
Given the fact that the owner did not have an opportunity to
file a rent restoration application, if a rent reduction is found
to be warranted by the Administrator, the Administrator should also
investigate on remand when the elevator was repaired and restore
the rents accordingly.
Contrary to the owner's allegation it has been and continues
to be the policy of the DHCR to order rent reductions for elevators
based on an inspection by the Division revealing an inoperative
elevator. The physical inspection in this case confirmed that the
elevator was out of order and the tenants requested a rent
reduction in their complaint. Accordingly, the Administrator erred
in dismissing the proceeding because of the receivership without
determining whether there has been a failure to maintain elevator
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and
Code, and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City,
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
granted and that the proceeding be, and the same hereby is,
remanded to the Rent Administrator for further processing in
accordance with this order and opinion.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA