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.: CG630098RO
LEVITES REALTY CORP. RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
On July 11, 1988 the above named petitioner-owner filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent
Administrator issued June 6, 1988. The order concerned various
housing accommodations located at 2085 Valentine Ave., Bronx, 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
This proceeding was commenced on December 17, 1987 when 32
tenants filed a Statement of Complaint of Decrease in Building-Wide
Services wherein they alleged, in relevant part, that the owner was
not maintaining certain required services including defective front
entrance door and defective intercom system.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The owner did not file a response.
The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject
building. The inspection was conducted on February 25, 1988 and
revealed that the building entrance door lock was not operable and
that, while the intercom system was working, the buzzer system was
out of service. All other services complained of were found to be
maintained. The Commissioner notes that the heat and hot water
complaint that was included by the tenants was disposed of in a
separate proceeding bearing Docket No. BL630120HW.
The Administrator issued the order here under review on June
6, 1988 and ordered a rent reduction of an amount equal to one
guideline increase based on the inspector's report regarding the
condition of the entrance door lock. The Administrator also stated
that the owner was required to maintain a working buzzer system.
On appeal the owner states that the entrance door and bell and
buzzer system have been repeatedly vandalized and that it has made
good faith efforts to make repairs. The petition was served on the
tenants on September 7, 1988.
After careful review of the evidence in the record, the
Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.
The Commissioner notes that the scope of review of an
administrative appeal is limited to facts or evidence presented
before the Administrator unless it can be shown that such facts or
evidence could not have been presented. The owner did not respond
to the complaint and has made no effort to excuse the default. The
Commissioner notes that the owner's "vandalism" argument is not an
acceptable defense to the failure to maintain services.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code,
tenants may apply to the DHCR for a rent reduction and the
Administrator shall reduce the rent based on the owner's failure to
maintain services. The definition of required services includes
routine repairs and maintenance. 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 order here under review is affirmed. The automatic
stay of the retroactive rent abatement which resulted from the
Administrator's order is vacated upon issuance of this order and
The owner may file for rent restoration when services have
been fully restored.
THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code it
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.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA