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.: CH130084RO
Lefferts Grove Company, : RENT ADMINISTRATOR'S
DOCKET NO.: CA130100B
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
The above-named petitioner-owner filed a timely petition for
administrative review of an order issued concerning the housing
accommodations known as 41-29 46 Street, Various Apartments,
Sunnyside, New York.
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 petition.
Various tenants commenced the proceeding below by filing a
complaint on January 22, 1988, asserting that the owner had failed
to maintain certain services in the subject building.
In an answer, the owner denied the allegations set forth in the
complaint or otherwise asserted that the heat and hot water is
regulated by the boiler according to New York City standards and
temperatures, that the halls, stairways and elevator cabs are swept
daily and mopped, that they never received any complaints regarding
improperly working intercoms, and that the only doors that are
unlocked are the emergency fire doors which allow access to the
roof as required by law.
Thereafter an inspection of the subject building was conducted by
a D.H.C.R. inspector on April 26, 1988, who confirmed the existence
of the following defective conditions:
The south basement door lock is inoperative;
door requires refitting.
The Rent Administrator directed restoration of these services and
further ordered a reduction of the maximum rent of $3.00 per month
for Rent Controlled Apartments but for Rent Stabilized Apartments,
it was determined that a rent reduction was not warranted.
In its petition for administrative review, the owner states, in
substance, that the lock in the basement side door was replaced
while the DHCR inspector was on the premises and thus the rent-
controlled tenants' rents should not have been reduced by $3.00 per
month; that the refitting of the door was outside the ambit of the
original complaint, however, the owner found no defect in the "fit"
of the door; the condition found does not constitute "substantial
deterioration"; that the failure to conduct a hearing to allow the
owner an opportunity to present his evidence and cross-examine the
inspector as to his findings constitutes a denial of due process;
and that the original complaint was signed by only seven rent-
controlled tenants but the order granted a rent reduction to all
thirty-two rent-controlled tenants.
The DHCR served a copy of the petition on the tenants on October 3,
1988. The tenants' answer asserts that the defects have not been
After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion
that the petition should be denied.
On April 26, 1988, an inspection was conducted of the subject
premises. The inspection report confirmed the existence of a
service deficiency noted in the tenants' complaint.
The Commissioner has considered the owner's claim that the Rent
Administrator erred by reducing the rents of the rent-controlled
tenants and rejects this argument.
Pursuant to Section 2202.16 of the Rent and Eviction Regulation, a
rent reduction is authorized where there has been a decrease in
essential services which are defined in Section 2200.3 to include
repairs, maintenance, janitorial services, and removal of refuse.
The owner's petition does not establish any basis for modifying or
revoking the Administrator's order which determined that the owner
was not maintaining essential services based on the physical
inspection confirming the existence of defective conditions in the
subject building for which a rent reduction is warranted. If there
is a finding of decrease of a building-wide service, the rental
value of all controlled apartments in the building is affected.
Despite the fact that all rent-controlled tenants' names were not
on the complaint form, all rent-controlled tenants are entitled to
a rent reduction where building-wide service deficiencies are shown
as long as at least one rent-controlled tenant has signed the
The Commissioner has also considered the owner's contention on
appeal that a rent reduction is not warrant because the lock on the
basement door was replaced while the DHCR inspector was on the
premises and finds it to be without basis. The tenants' complaint
stated "unlocked doors, basement door unsecured." The defective
condition reported by the inspector was an inoperative basement
door that needs refitting. The condition reported by the
inspection is sufficiently related to the condition complained of
and would not have been corrected by replacing the lock.
The owner states that he was denied due process in that he was not
granted a hearing with an opportunity to cross-examine the
inspector. The Commissioner is of the opinion, that this also is
without basis. The holding of a hearing is not required by law but
may be scheduled at the discretion of the Administrator in order to
resolve a factual dispute. It was not an abuse of discretion to
decline to schedule a hearing in the instant case where the
tenants' complaint was mailed to the owner on February 23, 1988,
the owner had two months to make the necessary repair work before
the inspection took place, and the inspection confirmed that not
all repairs had been completed.
Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, DHCR is
required to order a rent reduction, upon application by the tenant,
where it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required
services. The owner was directed to restore services, however, no
rent reduction was ordered for Rent Stabilized tenants, but no
tenants appealed this determination.
The owner may file a rent restoration application for the Rent
Controlled apartments if the facts so warrant.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, and the
Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, 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,
Joseph A. D'Agosta