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 ADMINSTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: GL510101RO
PISHON RIVER REALTY CORP., RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
DOCKET NO.: GF510538S
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW IN
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
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
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
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,
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