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

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:   

                                                  RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
                    HERMAN STEINBERG,             DOCKET NO.:

                                                  846 East 175th Street
                                  PETITIONER      Apt. 2-A, Bronx, NY


          The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative 
          review of an order issued on September 19, 1991, concerning the 
          housing accommodations relating to the above-described docket 

          The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record and 
          has carefully considered that portion relevant to the issues raised 
          by the petition.

          The tenant commenced this proceeding on January 10, 1990 by filing 
          a complaint asserting that the owner had failed to maintain  
          several services in the subject apartment including, in pertinent 
          part, a damaged refrigerator, and the failure to exterminate 
          roaches and rats throughout the apartment. 

          The complaint was not served on the owner until June 28, 1991.

          In his answer filed on July 8, 1991, the owner stated, in relevant 
          part, that exterminating service is provided one or two times a 
          month but the tenant refuses access.  The owner submitted copies of 
          exterminating service reports for October 1990, November 1990, and 
          February 1991 indicating that Apartment 2-A either refused or did 
          not request services.  The owner also asserted that the refrig- 
          erator belongs to the tenant and that the tenant gave the owner's 
          refrigerator to her brother in Apartment 3-B.


          A physical inspection of the subject apartment was conducted on 
          August 13, 1991 by a DHCR staff member who reported that there are 
          mice droppings and roaches in the kitchen; that the refrigerator is 
          missing a freezer door; and that the temperature in the freezer is 

          Based on the inspector's report, the Administrator directed 
          restoration of services and further ordered a reduction of the 
          stabilized rent.

          In this petition, the owner contends that the refrigerator/freezer 
          belongs to the tenant who should be responsible for its repair and 
          that extermination services are provided twice a month so any 
          infestation is due to the tenant's uncleanliness.  The owner sub- 
          mitted a copy of a stipulation settling a Housing Court action 
          dated October 9, 1991, wherein it is stated that the "tenant 
          acknowledges that she is the owner of the refrigerator in the 
          apartment and is responsible for its condition" and that she 
          receives monthly exterminating services.  The stipulation  also 
          states that despite the monthly exterminating service, vermin 
          infestation persists because of holes in the walls which the owner 
          has agreed to repair.  The owner also submitted a copy of a letter 
          from the exterminating company which corroborates the owner's 
          statement that exterminating services are rendered on a regular 

          The Division sent a copy of the petition to the tenant on November 
          4, 1991.

          After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion 
          that the petition should be denied and the Administrator's order 
          should be modified.

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires DHCR to 
          order a rent reduction, upon application by a tenant, where it is 
          found that the owner has failed to maintain required services.  
          Required services are defined by Section 2520.6(r) to include 
          services the owner was maintaining or was required to maintain on 
          the applicable base date plus any provided or required to be 
          provided thereafter by applicable law.

          The tenant herein complained about vermin infestation and the 
          inspection confirmed this condition.  Based on the inspector's 
          report, Section 2523.4 of the Code requires the Division to order 
          a rent reduction, because of the owner's failure to eradicate the 
          infestation condition in the subject apartment.


          The owner's contention that regular exterminating service is 
          provided, a fact conceded by the tenant in the aforementioned 
          stipulation, does not establish that the rent reduction is not 
          warranted.  Moreover, the tenant claims that holes in the walls 
          need to be repaired in order to correct the problem, suggesting 
          that the monthly service, even if utilized regularly by the tenant, 
          would not be effective in eradicating the infestation.  In order to 
          avoid a finding of failure to maintain services, it must be 
          established that infestation does not exist or that the tenant 
          refuses access for the purpose of taking necessary measures to 
          achieve eradication.  It is not sufficient for an owner to allege 
          a monthly maintenance contract as a defense to an allegation of 
          roach and rat infestation, when affirmed by a staff inspection.

          The owner must establish no access pursuant to the requirements of 
          Policy Statement 90-5 which mandates that an owner submit copies of 
          two letters sent to the tenant attempting to arrange access dates, 
          the second of which must be sent by certified mail.  A "No-Access" 
          inspection is then scheduled at which the owner, tenant, and 
          necessary repair persons are directed to appear. If the tenant does 
          not permit access at that time, a rent reduction will not be 
          ordered.  The owner herein did not meet the requirements of Policy 
          Statement 90-5 for establishing no access while the proceeding was 
          before the Administrator.

          With regard to the refrigerator, the tenant confirmed in the 
          stipulation that the refrigerator belongs to her and that she is 
          responsible for its condition.  Accordingly, a rent reduction for 
          the defects found in the condition of the refrigerator is not 

          While the stipulation referred to herein post-dates the Administra- 
          tor's order and was obviously not part of the record below, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the contents of that agreement 
          should form the basis for the instant determination since the 
          Administrator failed to serve the owner's answer on the tenant and 
          did not investigate the owner's allegation that the refrigerator 
          belongs to the tenant.

          Given the passage of time, a remand of this proceeding to the 
          Administrator for further investigation is not warranted.  

          The Commissioner notes that the owner's rent restoration applica- 
          tion (FJ610096OR) was denied based on a finding, pursuant to an 
          inspection, of roach and rodent infestation in the subject apart- 

          The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement that resulted 
          when this petition was filed is vacated upon issuance of this Order 


          and Opinion.

          THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,  
          it is,

          ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and 
          the Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, affirmed as 
          modified to delete the refrigerator as a basis for the rent 


                                                JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                                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