ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GC - 230168 RO

                                  STATE OF NEW YORK
                      DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

          ------------------------------------X 
          IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE :  ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
          APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.:               
                                                 GC - 230168 RO   
                                              :  (Refile of GB - 230053-B)
                                                 RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S     
                                                 DOCKET NO.: CL - 230124 B
                    GERALD PINDUS            
                                                  

                              PETITIONER      : 
          ------------------------------------X                             

           ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW,
                                       IN PART

               On March 7, 1992, the above named petitioner-owner refiled and 
          perfected a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) appealing an 
          order issued on January 9, 1992, by the Rent Administrator at Gertz 
          Plaza, Jamaica, New York, concerning the housing accommodations 
          located at 180 East 17th Street, Brooklyn, New York, wherein the 
          Administrator determined the tenants' complaint of reductions of 
          services building-wide.

               The challenged order reduced the tenants' rents based on 
          findings that an inspection conducted on September 25, 1991 found 
          that the owner had failed to maintain several building services, 
          more fully set forth below.

               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.  The owner argues 
          that the September 25, 1991 inspection was inadequate to reveal 
          conditions that existed in March 1989, the effective date of the 
          rent reductions, or any time prior thereto.  At most, the owner 
          reasons, the rents should be reduced only back to the date of the 
          inspection, as there was no evidence that the services were reduced 
          prior to that date. 




















          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GC - 230168 RO

               The owner also argues that as the tenants' complaint alleged 
          nearly one-hundred (100) service reduction conditions in a shotgun 
          approach, as most of the conditions listed were not confirmed, the 
          tenants' complaints were not credible as a statement of the 
          conditions on the filing date.

               The owner further contends that the enumerated conditions do 
          not constitute reductions of required services.

               The applicable law is Section 2520.6(r) and 2523.4 of the Rent 
          Stabilization Code.

               With respect to the doorman services, the Commissioner notes 
          that Section 2520.6(r) of the Rent Stabilization Code defines 
          required services as those services furnished or required to be 
          furnished to continuously stabilized housing accommodations on May 
          31, 1968 and all additional services provided or required to be 
          provided thereafter.  The owner suggests, however, that the April 
          1, 1984 initial services registration date is a new base date for 
          determining required services because the tenants failed to file 
          timely objections to the owner's registration which stated that the  
          doorman's hours were variable.  The owner is wrong.  Tenants can 
          object to service diminutions at any time.  

               The Administrator determined that the base date doorman 
          services extended from 8:00 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, 
          based on the information furnished by the prior base date owner.  
          The owner concedes that he was served with the prior owner's 
          statement.  In light of the owner's failure to rebut the evidence, 
          despite adequate opportunity to do so, the Administrator's 
          determination was sound and should be affirmed.

               The owner also claims he was denied due process because of the 
          Administrator's failure to hold a hearing as to this issue.  
          However, the Division is not required to hold hearings.  The 
          decision to do so is left to the Administrator's sound discretion.  
          All that is required is that the parties have notice of the 
          proceeding and an opportunity to present their positions.

               The Administrator's order set forth that the bulkhead areas 
          had peeling paint and plaster, that the walls had leak damage, that 
          plaster was crumbling, and that the bulkhead areas were cracked 
          (items 1 and 2 on the reverse side of the order), reflecting the 
          results of the September 25, 1991 inspection.  An earlier 
          inspection conducted on September 9, 1990 found similar conditions.  
          The tenants' complaint had alleged that there were broken windows 
          in the roof area, that the stairwell roof was leaking and that
          parts of the interior walls were falling.  The inspector's findings 


          confirmed the conditions cited by the tenants more than two years 
          prior to the inspection.  The report reflected a deterioration on 






          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GC - 230168 RO

          the interior walls, with a possible impairment to the structural  
          integrity of the building, affecting tenants throughout the
          building.  The conditions were directly related to the complaints 
          and the foreseeable development of the conditions reported by the 
          tenants.  The owner's argument that the Administrator's order 
          extended the tenants' complaint is therefore rejected as being 
          without merit.  The fact that the conditions remained uncorrected 
          during the period lends further support that rent reductions were 
          warranted.  

                The owner suggests that the missing laundry room sink faucet 
          knob, the inoperative laundry room exhaust fans, the defective 
          garage exit sign and the inoperative garage exhaust fans might be 
          considered items of routine maintenance which do not necessarily 
          constitute, in the first instance, a failure to maintain services.  
          However, the earlier inspection conducted in September 1990 found 
          similar problems.  The owner's failure to conduct what amounted to 
          minor repair work and routine maintenance over the extended period 
          of time justified the rent reductions for these items.          

               Additionally, while the actual laundry room and garage space 
          and equipment were not reduced, the tenants' use of these services 
          and facilities was affected, by the reduced ventilation, air 
          circulation and cleanliness resulting from defective equipment, in 
          normally hot and/or dusty locations.

               Landscaping and ground maintenance are services provided by 
          the owner under the provisions of the Code.  The tenants' complaint 
          that shrubbery and plants had been removed was consistent with the 
          Administrator's findings that the grounds were not adequately 
          maintained.  While specific maintenance decisions are normally left 
          to the owner's discretion, and allow for seasonal variations, the 
          owner's suggestion that landscaping maintenance is limited to the 
          springtime constitutes an admission that conditions are not 
          promptly addressed when maintenance is necessary and feasible.     

               With regard to the existence of water stained garage walls, 
          the Commissioner notes that the condition is serious, affects the 
          structural integrity of the building and is not merely cosmetic.  
          However, the tenants' complaint of roof leaks was insufficient to 
          afford the owner due process notice of the conditions found.  While 
          lack of notice precludes rent reductions based on this condition, 
          the owner is cautioned to remedy the problem.  Failure to do so may 
          subject the owner to further sanctions upon the filing of a proper 
          complaint by the tenants.   



               The owner is correct that a defective service room entrance 
          door used by the building staff, and not by tenants, was a minor 
          maintenance item not affecting tenants, and consequently should
          be revoked as a basis for the rent reductions.












          ADM. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: GC - 230168 RO


               Service of the tenants' complaint gave the owner early notice 
          of the conditions.  The owner's statements, notably as to doorman 
          services, and multiple inspections, over an extended period of 
          time, revealed which complaints had no basis in fact, which 
          conditions had been addressed, and which conditions remained 
          uncorrected over a three year period.  The owner's conclusion that
          the September 1991 inspection was not close enough to the tenants' 
          complaint to verify the tenants' allegations, or in the 
          alternative, that the rents be reduced only back to the date of the 
          September 1991 inspection, is belied by the record, and must, 
          therefore, be rejected.  

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

               ORDERED, that the owner's petition be granted in part and that 
          the Administrator's order be affirmed, as modified above.

          ISSUED:





                                                                        
                                          JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                          Acting Deputy Commissioner




                                                    

    

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