STATE OF NEW YORK
                            OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                              JAMAICA, NEW YORK  11433

          APPEAL OF                                  DOCKET NO.: GL510101RO

                                                     DOCKET NO.: GF510538S


          On December 21, 1992, the above-named petitioner-owner filed a 
          petition for administrative review of an order issued on November 
          23, 1992, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the housing 
          accommodation known as 571 West 175th Street, New York, N.Y., Apt. 
          #32, wherein the Administrator determined that the maximum rent of 
          the subject apartment should be reduced to the level in effect 
          prior to the last rent guideline increase based upon the findings 
          of an inspection held on November 12, 1992, which showed that 
          although some of the complained-of services were being maintained; 
          others were not.  The Rent Administrator also directed restoration 
          of services.

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

          The tenant commenced the proceeding below on July 1, 1992 by filing 
          a complaint alleging a decrease in services, including faulty 
          wiring in the fuse box, and repairs needed to various walls, 
          ceilings and doors which she described as dangerous to "life, 
          health, and safety."

          In an answer dated August 24, 1992, the owner claimed that all 
          repairs had been done to the tenant's satisfaction.  The owner 
          submitted with the answer a statement signed by the tenant on 
          August 14, 1992 indicating in Spanish that all items on the 
          complaint were done to her satisfaction except for the fuse box.  
          Also submitted was a statement by a contractor regarding painting 
          and other repairs to apt.#42 (not the subject apartment) and an 
          invoice regarding an inspection of the fuse box which revealed that 
          the electrical problem was caused by the tenant's use of 30 amp 
          rather than 15 amp fuses.

          The owner's answer was sent to the tenant on October 8, 1992 with 


          a request to the tenant to indicate whether her complaint had been 
          resolved.  Although the tenant's response was received by the 
          Division on October 16, 1992, it did not reach the file before the 
          Administrator's order was issued.  In that response, the tenant 
          signed the portion of the letter indicating that she wished to 
          withdraw the complaint.  However, she added a statement in Spanish 
          to the invoice regarding painting and plastering the apartment that 
          there are still bad conditions in the apartment.

          An inspection by DHCR on November 12, 1992 revealed that the fuse 
          box did not close properly; the living room walls and ceilings have 
          water stains and cracks; the bathroom floor tiles are cracked, the 
          bathroom ceiling and walls have bulges, cracks, peeling paint, and 
          mildew; and the bathtub has rust and worn enamel.

          The Administrator's order cited the conditions in the inspector's 
          report, except for the fuse box, as the basis for one rent 
          In the petition for administrative review, the owner asserts that 
          all repairs were done in a timely manner and to the tenant's 
          satisfaction, as indicated in the signed statement submitted by the 
          owner with the answer.

          After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be granted 
          in part.

          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code requires the Division 
          to order a rent reduction, upon request by a tenant, where it is 
          found that the owner is not maintaining or providing required 
          services.  Required services are defined by Section 2520.6 (r) to 
          include repairs and maintenance.

          In the instant case, however, the owner submitted with the answer 
          a statement signed by the tenant that all repairs were completed to 
          her satisfaction.  Based on this statement, the owner could 
          reasonably conclude that no further action was required and that 
          the proceeding would be terminated.  Due process requires that such 
          a statement, if submitted by an owner, be served on the tenant and, 
          if challenged, that the owner be advised that the complaint was not 
          being withdrawn.

          The tenant herein was served with the answer and responded in an 
          ambiguous manner, possibly due to language problems, that she was 
          withdrawing the complaint (in English) and that there were still 
          conditions in the apartment requiring repairs (in Spanish).  
          Because of the inexplicable failure of this response to reach the 
          file before the case was closed, the owner was not notified of the 
          response, nor was any attempt made to resolve the apparent 


          Nevertheless, the inspection by the Division revealed that, 
          contrary to the owner's allegation in the answer to the complaint, 
          the necessary repairs were not done.  It is also noted that the 
          invoice submitted by the owner regarding plastering and painting 
          pertained to a different apartment.  A rent reduction for the 
          conditions reported by the inspector is required pursuant to 
          Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, but because of the 
          failure to advise the owner that the complaint was not being 
          terminated, the effective date of the rent reduction is hereby 
          modified to December 1, 1992, the first of the month following 
          issuance of the Administrator's order, when the owner had actual 
          knowledge that the complaint was still active and that the agency's 
          physical inspection revealed the need for additional repairs.

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

          ORDERED, that this petition be and the same hereby is granted in 
          part and that the Rent Administrator's order be and the same hereby 
          is affirmed as modified to reflect an effective date of the rent 
          reduction as December 1, 1992.


                                                         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