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.:
(Refile of CE430112RT)
BELLE FELDMAN, President
LONDON TERRACE TENANTS ASSOC. RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
PETITIONER BH430166B; BH430167B
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On August 19, 1988, the above-named petitioner-tenants timely
refiled a petition for administrative review (PAR) of an order
issued on April 21, 1988, by the Rent Administrator, concerning the
housing accommodations known as London Terrace Apartments, wherein
the Administrator denied the tenants' complaint based on a finding
that the facts did not warrant the relief requested.
The Commissioner has reviewed all of the evidence in the record and
has carefully considered that portion of the record relevant to the
issues raised by the administrative appeal.
The record reveals that in October 1987 numerous tenants residing
in the various buildings known as London Terrace filed complaints
alleging a decrease in building-wide services, in that the elevator
operators had been instructed not to accept packages, keys, etc.
The tenants asserted that this is a great inconvenience, especially
for tenants who work, and that if the elevator operators are no
longer going to provide this service, a secure package room should
be made available for storage of packages.
In answer to the complaint, the owner, through counsel states that
there has been no reduction in services because the acceptance of
packages by elevator operators is not a required service but merely
a courtesy performed voluntarily. The owner submitted a job
description for elevator operators which specifically prohibits the
acceptance of packages, deliveries, keys, etc.
The Rent Administrator issued an order on April 21, 1988, denying
the tenants' applications based on a finding that the facts do not
warrant the relief requested.
In the petition for administrative review, the president of the
tenants association asserts that the owner should be directed to
restore the service in question because a 1956 Court of Appeals
decision stated that the creation of a single package room for the
handling of deliveries to all 10 buildings "would substitute an
unwieldy and inconvenient method for the present simple delivery of
all packages directly to the tenant by the manual elevator".
In an answer to the petition, the owner through counsel, asserts
that the Rent Administrator's orders should be upheld and reiter-
ates the arguments made in response to the complaint.
After careful consideration of the evidence of record, the Commis-
sioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
Section 2520.6(r) of the Rent Stabilization Code and Section
2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations authorize a rent
reduction based on a finding of failure to maintain required or
essential services. Required and essential services are defined as
those services which the owner was maintaining or was required to
maintain on the base date and any additional services provided or
required to be provided thereafter by applicable law. For rent
controlled tenants, the owner must continue to maintain those
services he furnished or was obliged to furnish on April 30, 1962
and which were included in the maximum rent on that date. For rent
stabilized tenants, the base date for required building-wide
services for the subject building is May 31, 1968.
The record in the instant case fails to support the tenants'
contention that the acceptance of mail and packages by elevator
personnel was anything more than a courtesy provided informally and
voluntarily. As such, it is not a base date service included in
the rent and which the owner is required to maintain.
The amenities sought by tenants to be provided as a building-wide
service are not only inconsistent with the proper performance of
the duties of building personnel, but are those personal services
which may be provided to individual tenants for a gratuity.
The Court of Appeals opinion referred to by the tenants was not
submitted with the petition and cannot be located among reported
court decisions. Moreover, the excerpt quoted in the petition does
not conclusively establish that acceptance of packages is a base
date service or effectively rebut the owner's statement, supported
by the job description for elevator operators, that such services
were courtesies voluntarily provided by the elevator operators but
not within the scope of their employment.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code
and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is
ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and
the Rent Administrator's order be, and the same hereby, is
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA