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.: GC210322RT
HENRIETTA SHAELLY RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On March 4, 1992 the above named petitioner-tenant filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued January 30, 1992. The order concerned housing
accommodations known as Apt 2J located at 1730 E. 14th Street,
Brooklyn, N.Y. The Administrator denied the tenant's complaint
seeking a rent reduction based on a diminution of services.
On December 29, 1992 the Commissioner issued an order and
opinion dismissing the petition as untimely. On January 4, 1993
the tenant sought reconsideration of this order. The Commissioner
granted reconsideration in an order issued on February 9, 1993,
finding that a copy of a receipt for certified mail established
that the petition had been timely filed.
The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully
considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this
The tenant commenced this proceeding on May 3, 1990 by filing
a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services wherein she
alleged a diminution of services in that the air and light to her
apartment was being blocked by the construction of a medical
building in the area adjacent to the subject building.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on June 7,
1992 and stated that it had no control over the construction of the
subject medical building and that the DHCR was without jurisdiction
to order a rent reduction in this proceeding.
The Administrator terminated this proceeding on January 30,
1992 ruling that the tenant had to seek relief from a court of
On appeal the tenant states that, in Sutton Fifty-Six Co. v.
Garrison (Appellate Term, First Department, New York Law Journal,
July 2, 1986) a court of competent jurisdiction ruled that a 7%
rent abatement is appropriate for a breach of the warranty of
habitability caused by the diminution of air and light when a
building is erected adjoining an existing building. The tenant
states that a court of competent jurisdiction having ruled on this
issue, the DHCR should revoke the order here under review and
determine the merits of her complaint. The petition was served on
the owner on April 10, 1992.
The owner, as represented by counsel, filed a response on May
11, 1992 wherein it stated that the court decision cited by the
tenant in her petition had no relevance to the issue of the
jurisdiction of the DHCR in matters involving the diminution of air
and light. The owner urges the Commissioner to follow the prior
decisions of the agency which have consistently held that the DHCR
does not have jurisdiction to order rent reductions in cases of
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
The Commissioner agrees with the owner's interpretation of the
case cited by the tenant. That case dealt with a legal action
brought pursuant to Section 235-b of the Real Property Law. The
DHCR was not a party to that proceeding, no section of the Rent
Stabilization Law or Code was in issue and the court did not issue
any decision with respect to the duties of this agency as they
relate to this issue. Regardless of the tenant's rights under
other provisions of New York State law, the tenant has offered no
basis for overturning the Administrator's decision, to the effect
that the DHCR lacks jurisdiction to order a rent reduction in
proceedings relating to a complaint alleging a diminution of air
and light based on the erection of an adjoining building. The
Administrator's order was correctly issued and is affirmed.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code it
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is,
denied, and that the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same
hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA