ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GH230098RO
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
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.:
EE 230127 B
C/O STEVE HAVIARAS
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On August 5, 1992, the above-named petitioner owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) against an order issued on
July 2, 1992, by the Rent Administrator at Gertz Plaza, Jamaica,
New York, concerning the housing accommodations known as 750 Ocean
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, wherein the Administrator determined
the tenants' complaint of reductions of services building-wide
filed in May 1990.
The challenged order reduced the tenants' rents based on the
results of inspections conducted on March 20 and June 17, 1992 that
confirmed the continued existence of several of the conditions
cited in the tenants' complaint. The June 17, 1992 inspection
report reflected that two elevators were not working at the time of
inspection (the tenants had complained that the elevators were
frequently broken); that there were water leaks and peeling paint
and plaster on the top floor; that janitorial services were
inadequate; that hallway floors and stairs were dirty; and that
wiring was exposed in the rear yard. Other complaints raised by
the tenants were either unsubstantiated, or found to have been
addressed between the dates of the two inspections.
ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GH-230098RO
On appeal, the owner contends that there was no rational basis
to sustain findings that the owner had failed to maintain required
services for the years prior to the inspection and that the March
and June 1992 inspections were inadequate to reveal conditions that
existed in 1990. At most, the owner reasons, the rents should have
been reduced only back to the date of the inspection, as there was
no evidence that the services were reduced prior to that date.
One tenant responded, pointing to correspondence sent to the
owner by a local tenants' advocacy group on behalf of the tenants,
between January 1990 and August 1991, citing most of the conditions
that provided the bases for the rent reductions.
The owner argues that because the tenants alleged numerous
services complaints in an indiscriminate shotgun approach, they
were not credible. However, the March 20, 1992 inspection
confirmed several of the most serious complaints. The owner
belatedly addressed some of the conditions only after service of
notice of the results of the March 20, 1992 inspection.
The owner's assertion that the March and June 1992 inspections
were not close enough to the tenants' complaint to verify the
tenants' allegations neglects the owner's own assurances in June
1990 that several items that required repairs had been corrected
and that services were being maintained during the pendency of the
proceedings below, namely mailboxes, the roof and the elevators.
The fact that the roof and elevator defects were observed
thereafter reflects that repairs, if made, were not completed in a
workmanlike manner and further confirms the tenants' complaint.
The owner also contends that some of the conditions enumerated
in the rent reduction order, particularly lack of elevator service
and lack of maintenance and janitorial services, did not constitute
service reductions, but were conditions requiring routine
maintenance. In the opinion of the Commissioner, an item of normal
maintenance would have been corrected within the two years. While
the owner may have undertaken repairs and maintenance, they appear
to have been inadequate to prevent the recurrence of the conditions
upon which the rent abatements were predicated.
The March 20, 1992 inspection showed that elevator service was
adequate. However, on June 17, 1992 the elevators were found to be
inoperative at the time of inspection. The inspection confirmed
the tenants' claim of elevator service interruptions, and
inadequate repairs. The Rent Administrator, therefore, properly
concluded that the service decreases warranted rent abatements.
With regard to the condition of the roof leak and the owner's
argument that only a limited number of tenants were affected, the
ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GH-230098RO
Commissioner notes that the inspector reported evidence of water
damage in the public areas on the top floor ceilings of both wings
of the building, indicating a defective roof causing water seepage.
The owner points out that the rear yard exposed wires were not
cited in the tenants' complaint. The lack of notice of the
condition precludes a rent reduction based on this condition. The
Administrator's order is amended to delete this condition as a
basis for the rent reduction, or as condition required to be
corrected in order to be eligible for rent restoration. However,
the owner is cautioned to remedy the problem. Failure to do so may
subject the owner to new sanctions upon the filing of a proper
complaint by the tenants.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent
Stabilization Law and Code, it is
ORDERED, that the owner's petition be denied and that the
Administrator's order be affirmed, as modified above.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA