GJ110197RO

                                  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.: GJ110197RO
                                                  
          RICHARD ALBERT                          RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: GB110556S
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
                                          
               On October 26, 1992 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued October 7, 1992. The order concerned housing 
          accommodations known as Apt 3R located at 93-47 222nd Street, 
          Queens Village, N.Y.  The Administrator directed restoration of 
          services and ordered a rent reduction for failure to maintain 
          required services.  

               The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully 
          considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this 
          appeal.

               The tenant commenced this proceeding on February 28, 1992 by 
          filing a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Services wherein she 
          alleged, in sum, that the owner was not maintaining certain 
          required services including leaking kitchen faucets, broken freezer 
          door and defective refrigerator thermostat.

               The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded 
          an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on March 24, 
          1992 and stated, in relevant part, that the faucets had been 
          repaired and that the tenant was responsible for any problems with 
          the refrigerator and freezer because the tenant failed to properly 
          defrost the freezer and had overloaded the refrigerator. 
           
               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          apartment.  The inspection was conducted on September 11, 1992 and 
          revealed that the kitchen faucets were leaking and that the 
          refrigerator and freezer temperatures were inadequate (8 degrees 
          and 25 degrees respectively).  

               The Administrator issued the order here under review on 












          GJ110197RO

          October 7, 1992.  The Administrator noted that the tenant also 
          complained about a broken freezer door and a defective 
          hallway/foyer floor but that these conditions were cited in a rent 
          reduction order bearing Docket No. BL110745S.  The Administrator 
          also directed the owner to repair the foyer floor immediately, as 
          this condition constituted a hazard.  A rent reduction of an amount 
          equal to the most recent guideline adjustment was ordered based on 
          the inspector's report regarding the leaking faucets and inadequate 
          refrigerator/freezer temperature.

               On appeal the owner states that the tenant has caused any 
          problems with the refrigerator, that the tenant has been 
          uncooperative in allowing access to the apartment, that the owner 
          has promptly responded to the tenant's complaints, that an owner 
          representative had the right to be present during the inspection, 
          that inadequate refrigerator/freezer temperature cannot be a 
          predicate for a rent reduction since the tenant has control over 
          the temperature, that the DHCR inspector lacked the technical 
          expertise to determine issues regarding the adequacy of 
          refrigerator or freezer temperature and that a DHCR rent reduction 
          proceeding in 1991 found no evidence of leaking faucet or defective 
          refrigerator.  The petition was served on the tenant on December 
          17, 1992. 

               The tenant filed a response on January 5, 1993 and stated, in 
          sum, that the petition for administrative review is without merit 
          and that the order here under review should be affirmed.
           
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code a 
          tenant may apply to the DHCR for a rent reduction and the 
          Administrator shall reduce the rent based on a finding that the 
          owner has failed to maintain required services.  Repairs and 
          maintenance are included within the definition of required 
          services.  The Commissioner finds that the Administrator based this 
          determination on the entire record including the results of the on- 
          site physical inspection described above.

               The owner's arguments are without merit.  The tenant clearly 
          complained of a defective refrigerator thermostat, which would 
          account for the fact that the temperature in both the refrigerator 
          and freezer were found to be inadequate according to established 
          industry standards.  There is no evidence in the record to 
          substantiate the owner's claims that the tenant caused the 
          conditions complained of.  The owner's complaint that the tenant 
          was uncooperative in allowing access is negated by the fact that 
          the owner was permitted access to the apartment for the purpose of 
          completing some repairs.  The Commissioner has consistently held 
          that an owner does not have the right to be present during a DHCR 
          inspection because the complaint adequately notifies the owner of 






          GJ110197RO

          the conditions requiring repair (see Empress Manor Apts. v. DHCR 
          538 N.Y.S.2d 49 [2nd Dept. 1989]).  Finally, the fact that a prior 
          proceeding found that the owner was maintaining services does not 
          preclude the tenant from filing a new application if the facts so 
          warrant.  The order here under review is affirmed. 

               The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement which 
          resulted from the filing of this petition for administrative review 
          is vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.  The 
          Commissioner notes that the owner's rent restoration application 
          (Docket No. HG110150OR) is pending before the DHCR.

               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code it 
          is 

               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.

          ISSUED:



                                                                             
                                             JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                             Deputy Commissioner
                                    






    

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