GERTZ PLAZA
                     92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                     JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

                                       ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: GF510066RO

JONATHAN AUSTERN,                      DISTRICT RENT               
                                       DOCKET NO.: FJ510123S

                                       PREMISES:497 W. 182nd. St.
                                                Apt. 6C
                                                New York, NY


            The above-named owner filed a timely petition for administrative 
            review of an order issued on May 6, 1992 concerning the housing 
            accommodations relating to the above-described docket number.  

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

            The issue in this appeal is whether the Administrator's order was 

            This proceeding was commenced on October 7, 1991 by the tenant 
            filing a complaint asserting that the owner had failed to maintain 
            numerous services in the subject apartment. The tenant enumerated 
            various defective conditions in the kitchen (water leak on the sink, 
            broken stove, all kitchen to be fixed and painted), in the bathroom 
            (no water pressure in the toilet, broken water faucet, broken window 
            and all bathroom to be fixed and painted), in the bedroom which 

            needs painting, in the living room (a water leak in the ceiling and 
            all the living room to be painted) and the hall inside the apartment 
            (the hall to be painted and the wall to be fixed).

            On October 18, 1991 and January 28, 1992, DHCR transmitted a copy of 
            the tenant's complaint to the owner.

            In an answer dated January 29, 1992, the owner asserted that a work 
            order was issued and upon work completion, it would submit a copy of 
            a signed work order and would ask for a dismissal of the complaint 
            at that time. The owner submitted copies of two unsigned work orders 
            covering the complained of conditions.

            In another answer filed on February 4, 1992, the owner informed DHCR 
            that repairs were completed and attached copies of signed work 
            orders, wherein the tenant acknowledged completion of the required 
            repairs to satisfaction.

            On February 13 and March 5, 1992, DHCR mailed copies of the owner's 
            answer to the tenant. Though duly notified twice to do so, the 
            tenant failed to reply to the owner's answer.  

            Thereafter,  an on-site inspection of the subject apartment was 
            conducted on March 5, 1992 by a DHCR  staff member who reported that 
            the kitchen stove pilot light and the 4 burners are not working, the 
            oven not lighting, the stove knobs missing; that there is peeling 
            paint and plaster on the hallway walls, the living room window sill 
            and the bedroom door window frame; that the toilet is not flushing; 
            that the bathroom faucet is leaking; that the bathroom window pane 
            is broken, and that the hallway walls have peeling paint and plaster 
            and cracks. 

            The inspector further noted that the plumbing in the kitchen sink is 
            maintained ; that there are no leaks or stains in the living room; 
            and that there is no defective paint and plaster in bedroom 1.
            Based on the inspection, the Administrator directed on May 6, 1992 
            the restoration of services and further ordered the reduction of the 
            stabilized rent effective February 1, 1992.

            In the petition for administrative review, the owner contends in 
            substance that the Administrator erred in failing to consider the 
            work orders showing that the tenant signed an acknowledgment that 
            the necessary work was satisfactorily completed; that no further 
            communication was received from either the tenant or DHCR by virtue 
            of these work orders; and that the petitioner was fully justified in 
            believing that all required work was in fact performed and in a 
            satisfactory manner.

            On June 26, 1992, DHCR mailed a copy of the petition to the tenant.

            In an answer filed on July 7, 1992, the tenant denied that repairs 
            were ever made to the stove, the toilet, the faucet and the window 
            panes. The tenant otherwise asserted that the owner's petition filed 


            on June 12, 1992 against an order issued on May 6, 1992 should be 
            dismissed for going beyond the 35-day statute of  limitations; that 
            the copies of work orders are questionable because it is signed by 
            a tenant's family member who does not read or speak English, who was 

            told he was ordering work to be done, not certifying satisfactory 
            completion of work; that the work orders were unsigned by the super, 
            with no date of completion, with no back-up of bills or receipts 
            from contractors; and that the on-site inspection confirmed that 
            repairs were needed in the apartment.

            On July 16, 1992, DHCR mailed copies of the tenant's answer to the  

            In a reply filed on August 5, 1992, the owner stated that somebody 
            other than the tenant prepared the tenant's answer and he should be 
            identified; that the attached proof of service shows that the 
            petition was timely filed on June 10, 1992, which is 35 days 
            following the issue date of the order; that a major portion of the 
            tenant's complaint was rectified; that the remaining defective 
            conditions are de minimis, merely requiring tenant's cooperation in 
            normal maintenance.

            After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion that 
            the petition should be granted in part and modified accordingly.

            The Commissioner finds that the owner has established timely filing 
            of this petition; that the March 5, 1992 inspection results as set 
            forth above clearly show remaining serious defective conditions, not 
            trivial items; and that the owner addressed many of the items in the 
            tenant's complaint.

            The tenant's unsubstantiated questioning of the validity of the 
            owner's petition and the work orders for the first time on appeal is 
            beyond the scope of review, which is limited to the issues and 
            evidence before the Administrator.

            The record establishes that copies of the signed work orders were 
            mailed twice to the tenant in the proceeding below prior to the 
            issuance of the Administrator's order, without the tenant 
            questioning the validity of same; and that repairs were actually 
            performed in the apartment, even though some conditions still 
            remain. Accordingly, the Commissioner is of the opinion that it was 
            reasonable for the owner to believe, after no further communication 
            from the tenant or DHCR, that all required work was performed 

            Accordingly, the Commissioner modifies the effective date of the 
            rent reduction to the rent payment date of the month subsequent to 
            the issuance date of the Administrator's order, when the owner was 
            put on notice of serious defective conditions, which were not 
            completely and effectively repaired.


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

            ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, granted to 
            the extent that the effective date of the rent reduction is modified 
            to the rent payment date of the month following the issuance date of 
            the order appealed from, and that in all other respects, the 
            Administrator's order be, and the same hereby is, affirmed.


                                            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