CG630098RO

                                  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.: CG630098RO
                                                  
          LEVITES REALTY CORP.                    RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: BL620045B
                                  PETITIONER            
          ----------------------------------x


            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 
          appeal.

               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 












          CG630098RO

          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 
          opinion.

               The owner may file for rent restoration when services have 
          been fully restored.

               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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